Drink-driver caused and failed to stop at serious road accident, a court heard

4:36pm Friday 4th April 2014

By Lizzie Anderson

A DRINK-DRIVER panicked and left the scene of a serious accident that hospitalised another motorist for more than a week, a court heard.

Paul Anthony Vickers lost control of his vehicle and collided with another car travelling in the opposite direction on Copeland Road in West Auckland, County Durham, at 3.15am on November 15.

The other driver hit a brick wall, shattered his kneecap and injured his neck and wrist, resulting in a ten-day stay at Darlington Memorial Hospital.

Newton Aycliffe Magistrates Court today (Friday, April 4) heard 60-year-old Vickers had been driving his partner to McDonald’s and had been drinking tequila prior to the accident.

Anne Mitchell, prosecuting at Newton Aycliffe Magistrates Court today (Friday, April 4), said Vickers’ partner had helped him out of his Ford Mondeo, shortly before the vehicle set alight.

“The defendant made off from the scene, asking his friend to take the blame,” she added.

Later that morning, Vickers failed a breath test, giving a reading of 67 microgrammes (mg) of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath, almost twice the legal limit of 35mg.

Vickers, of Station Road, Darlington, pleaded guilty to drink driving and careless driving in January but denied a charge of failing to stop, claiming he was in shock at the time.

Magistrates were told he changed his plea to guilty after a medical expert concluded he had panicked and was not actually in shock.

Clive Booth, mitigating, said his client was initially the passenger but, when his partner began to drive erratically, he insisted on taking over.

He said the couple had helped the injured driver out of the car, before Vickers, who was panicking, was instructed to leave the scene by his partner.

“He walked off but got lost and ended up at Evenwood,” said Mr Booth. “He called his sister who came and picked him up and took him to her home.

“She gave a statement describing her brother as being in a state. He kept asking to be taken to the police. She made him some tea and then took him to the police station.”

Mr Booth added: “His remorse in relation to what has happened is absolutely genuine.”

Vickers, who suffers from arthritis and diabetes, was disqualified from driving for 46 months.

He was also fined £280 and was ordered to pay £85 prosecution costs and a £28 victim surcharge.

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