Motorists convicted as part of campaign to tackle drink and drug driving
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A drink-driver who tested four and half times over the legal alcohol limit after a collision near a school was among the first to be convicted as part of a Sussex Police campaign over Christmas.
Teresa Atkins failed a roadside breath test after the collision in Wrestwood Road, Bexhill.
The collision happened as children were leaving a school nearby.
She tested positive for 157 microgrammes (uhg) of alcohol per 100 millilitres (ml) of breath. The legal limit is 35uhg of alcohol per 100ml of breath.
In custody her sample was 142uhg of alcohol per 100ml of breath.
The 49-year-old, of Wentworth Close, Bexhill, appeared before Hastings Magistrates’ Court on December 5 where she admitted driving a vehicle above the legal alcohol limit, driving without valid insurance, and driving otherwise than in accordance with a licence.
In keeping with previous campaigns, some of those convicted of these offences will be identified by Sussex Police to help raise awareness of the campaign and to highlight the consequences as a deterrent to others to prevent them committing the same offences.
Atkins was released on court bail and will next appear before the same court for sentencing on 25 March next year. She was also given an interim driving disqualification.
Investigating officer PC Graham Fox, from the Roads Policing Unit (RPU), said: “This collision happened at school pickup time when there was a large number of young children walking along the pavement.
“Her actions were reckless and it is extremely lucky that she did not cause serious harm to herself, the other driver and anyone else on the road.”
Head of RPU Superintendent Rachel Glenton said: “Those who commit these offences risk punishments which include being disqualified from driving, heavy fines, and even the risk of going to prison.
“These are nothing compared to the risk they pose of causing serious harm or even the death of themselves or other road users.
“Drink or drug driving is one of the main causes of people being killed or seriously injured on our roads.
“That is why we continue to urge people to take steps to prevent drink and drug-driving, such as persuading loved ones not to drive, and taking sensible steps such as pre-booking taxis or walking home.
“Our officers are determined to catch offenders to help keep our roads safe.”
Also among the first drivers to be convicted was Paul May, 56, unemployed of Dakin Close, Maidenbower.
He was stopped by officers in the early hours of December 3 after staff at a petrol station reported seeing him stumbling from a vehicle and requesting to buy alcohol. His speech was slurred and his vehicle also appeared damaged.
At the roadside, he gave a breath test for 74uhg of alcohol per 100ml of breath, but then became uncooperative with police. In custody, he refused to provide a sample of breath for analysis, so he was charged with failing to provide.
At Crawley Magistrates’ Court on December 4 he admitted the charge and was disqualified from driving for four years.
The court ordered him to complete six months of treatment for alcohol dependency as part of an eight-week suspended prison sentence. May must also complete eight rehabilitation activity requirement sessions and pay a £154 surcharge and £85 costs.
Mark Lawrence was stopped by officers in the early hours of December 2 on the A22. He was seen driving a Mercedes in an erratic manner, undertaking other vehicles at high speed.
When stopped, officers could smell alcohol, and in custody he tested positive for 40uhg of alcohol per 100ml of breath.
Lawrence, 49, a plasterer of Kennedy Avenue, East Grinstead, appeared before Crawley Magistrates’ Court on December 18 where he admitted driving over the legal alcohol limit.
He was disqualified from driving for one year, fined £400, and ordered to pay a £160 surcharge and £85 costs.
Meanwhile Elson de Agrela was stopped while riding a moped in Horsham involved in a road traffic collision on December 2.
The 34-year-old timber yard worker, of no fixed address, admitted to officers he had consumed alcohol and tested positive for 74uhg of alcohol per 100ml of breath.
At Crawley Magistrates’ Court on December 18 he admitted driving over the legal alcohol limit and was disqualified for 18 months. He was fined £346, with a £138 surcharge and £85 costs.