Lorry driver drove 12-tonne truck down A38 after downing whisky
A lorry driver who was more than twice the drink-drive limit dangerously drove a 12-tonne truck down the A38. Everton Wright had already reached his destination for the day in Barton under Needwood when he downed whisky to try and get to sleep in his cab. However, he inexplicably woke up later that night and decided to begin driving again, heading onto the dual carriageway, Staffordshire Live reports.
What followed was a catalogue of bad driving, with the 67-year-old seen repeatedly hitting the central reservation, knocking over cones laid out by workmen, smashing into a set of traffic lights and circling a roundabout four times. He was eventually stopped on the A516 in Mickleover by Derbyshire police. A hearing at Derby Crown Court was told that when confronted about his actions, Wright could offer no explanation for his decision to restart the lorry.
His defence counsel told the court that Wright, of Kentish Road, Birmingham, would never get behind the wheel again. Wright was spotted by a civilian safety officer, who decided to follow him and alert the police over concerns about the dangerous manner he was driving his huge truck. Luc Chignell, prosecuting, said Wright was first seen to drive through a red temporary traffic light and hit the lights at the other end.
The officer called the police and decided to follow him. He saw him swerving across both lanes of the A38 and hitting the central reservation around 10 times. He also hit cones that were out for roadworks.
The workmen were not on the site at the time.
He appeared at Derby Crown Court (Image: Derby Telegraph)
The safety officer said he had never witnessed someone driving that badly in 23 years of service. The police caught up with him on the A516 in Mickleover and took over the task of following him. A stinger was used to bring him to a stop.
A bottle of whiskey that was 35 per cent full was found in the cab and he was found to have 85 microgrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath. The legal limit is 35 microgrammes. When he was interviewed, Wright said he could not remember much of the driving and he was at his destination when he started his journey.
He had parked up for some food and sleep and for no reason decided to drive the lorry again after waking up. The driver was described as not driving fast and the offence happened at 11.30pm, so not many vehicles were on the road at the time. Justin Ablott, defending, said: “Mr Wright is aware of how serious matters are.
There’s no sense of Mr Wright trying to downplay the severity or pass the blame.
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“It’s right to say that Mr Wright has spent the last year reflecting on how lucky he is that he’s not before the court for more serious matters.” He added there was no explanation for what had happened, but said the physical demands of driving a lorry and sleeping in the cab had started to take their toll on him. He drank the alcohol to help him get some sleep, but has no explanation for why he woke up and decided to drive.
Mr Ablott said there was no possibility of him ever driving any vehicle again. He said Wright was supposed to be retired, but had taken out an endowment policy on his mortgage that had meant he needed to continue to work. Wright is also so well thought of in the company he worked for it has kept him on working in the yard and cleaning its lorries.
Wright, of Kentish Road, Birmingham, had admitted dangerous driving and drink-driving at the A516 Hilton junction with the A50 on August 24, 2020, at a previous court hearing before he was sentenced. Judge Shaun Smith QC said: “During covid you’ve been working very hard indeed. So hard were you working that you were sleeping in your lorry.
In order to get yourself off to sleep, you decided you were going to down some whisky. “You decided in the late hours you would turn that lorry on and would drive it when you were in no fit state to drive it.” The judge said Wright hit around 30 cones, went around a roundabout four times and he was travelling on A-roads.
He said his driving was so bad the possibility of a fatality was high. Judge Smith said: “By and large you’re a good man who did something very stupid.” He sentenced Wright to eight months in prison, suspended for two years, and 200 hours of unpaid work.
He was also disqualified from driving for four years.
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