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Lorry driver was twice the legal drink-driving limit when he caused a crash on the M1 in Derbyshire

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A truck driver has been given a suspended jail sentence after he drank vodka before getting behind the wheel, causing a pile-up on the M1 motorway. Graham Sams, 58, was more than twice the legal limit when he crashed into the back of another lorry on a motorway slip-road in Derbyshire. He was banned from driving for 18 months and must spend 10 rehabilitation days with probation officers, a court has decided.

His eight-week prison sentence will be suspended for a year. Presiding magistrate Anthony Burton sat with two colleagues and told him: “We can only imagine the carnage which could have happened if you had got as far as going onto the main carriageway of the M1. It is a very serious matter – but we think the package we have put together adequately deals with the matter.”

Sams, of White Road, Mere, Wiltshire, was ordered to pay a Government surcharge of ?115 and ?85 prosecution costs. He pleaded guilty to driving a Mercedes articulated lorry at the M1 junction with the A610 at Ilkeston on January 20. He had 78 micrograms of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath.

The limit is 35 micrograms.

Read more court stories from around the area here[2]

Finn Butler, mitigating, said Sams had never been in trouble before and told the JPs in Nottingham: “He is in his late 50s, doesn’t have a drink problem as such but decided to buy a bottle of vodka to consume. This is the effect of undiagnosed emotional difficulties.
“He recognises he has issues which need to be dealt with and is willing to engage the services of those who are prepared to provide for him.

He was co-operative with the police and is extremely remorseful, as was shown when he pleaded guilty at the earliest opportunity. This should be considered to be a one-off incident,” said Mr Butler.

Read more court stories from around the area here[3]

He said the driving ban would affect the family’s finances while custody would have “a significant impact not only on the defendant but upon his wife and son, too”. A probation report said Sams bought the alcohol because he “felt unwell and had low mood”.

He showed victim awareness and realises that things could have been much more serious and other people could have been killed.” The court heard that nobody was hurt when he ran into the back of the other lorry. Sams’ disqualification will be cut by 136 days if he completes a course on the dangers of drink-driving.

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