Accrington road-sweeper driver was over drink limit when he crashed

THE driver of a road-sweeper with faulty brakes was over the drink-drive limit when he drove dangerously and at high speed, forcing two cars off the road before overturning the HGV. Ariel Babiarz, of Accrington, stopped but then drove off after being involved in one collision along on the narrow B6480 at Bentham, North Yorkshire, on a Saturday morning in early March, leaving the other car on its side after the driver swerved out of the way, heard Skipton Magistrates Court. Babiarz, 29, then proceeded along the A65 towards Clapham where he lost control on a bend, overturning the vehicle and blocking the road, the court heard.

He received minor injuries, as did two other drivers, provided a positive roadside breath test at the scene, and was taken to hospital. He was later found to have 146 milligrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of blood, the legal limit is 80. One driver, the court was told, described the HGV repeatedly coming up behind him at speed and straying onto the wrong side of the road, while another witness, who was on the way to the Lake District said how the vehicle had come towards them at high speed, forcing them off the road and into a ditch before rolling over.

The driver of a Volkswagen involved in the first collision, in a statement read out in court by prosecutor, Martin Butterworth, said how she was on her way from Clapham to Bentham on a narrow road when the road sweeper came towards her. It collided with her vehicle, causing it to flip over. While she was being treated for bruising by paramedics at the scene, Babiarz drove off, said Mr Butterworth.

A second witness, who was driving from Bentham towards Clapham, described how the wagon driver had kept coming up close to him and then backing off, and straying across the road. He had been relieved when turning onto the A65 and being able to ‘build up a gap’, said Mr Butterworth. Another witness, on the way to the Lakes, described seeing a ‘truck’ approaching at speed and on the wrong side of the road.

They had ended up in a ditch, and had seen the HGV roll over. It was later discovered that there was a fault with one of the vehicle’s brake discs, that Babiarz had reported it as not being ‘in good working order’, but that he had continued to drive the vehicle. Mr Butterworth said when interviewed by police, Babiarz had said he had been on his way back to the yard, in Lancashire, after completing a job.

Mr Butterworth said it had been a prolonged case of bad driving, he had been in drink at the time and it was difficult to say by how much he had been over the limit as an amount of time had passed since the first collision and when he had provided a blood sample. He added that Babiarz, a man of previous good character, who had pleaded guilty at the earliest opportunity, had also been driving a vehicle he knew not to be in good working order. Babiarz, of Maudsley Street, admitted driving a vehicle dangerously on both the B6480 and on the A65 and also driving while over the alcohol limit on March 9.

He was sent by magistrates to crown court for sentencing and is due to appear at Bradford Crown Court on August 23.

Magistrates imposed an interim driving ban.

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