HGV driver caught well over the limit

A MOTORIST who drank nearly three times the legal limit now has a suspended prison sentence hanging over his head. A district judge said the reading was so high that she nearly sent 64-year-old HGV driver Derek Kelvin Cullum straight to jail. Davinder Lachhar told him: “This is a very, very high reading and your driving was clearly affected by it.

“I’m concerned for the safety of other road users.” Alex Alowade, prosecuting, said that when Mr Cullum, who lives at Clarence Way, Calcot, filled up at a petrol station, staff were so concerned by his intoxicated demeanour that they called police. He added: “Officers saw him driving on the A4 Bath Road and turned on their emergency lights, but he continued on.”

As Mr Cullum turned off the main road and on to Clarence Way in Calcot, officers activated their sirens and he eventually pulled over. Mr Alowade said: “He was slurring his words and smelled of alcohol. “He was taken to Newbury police station where he failed a breath test.”

Mr Cullum admitted driving a Mercedes car on August 4 after drinking more than the legal limit. Tests showed 102mcg of alcohol per 100ml of breath in his system. The legal limit is 35mcg.

Chris Albin, defending, said his client had been driving all his life with no previous convictions and worked as an HGV driver. A probation officer told the court Mr Cullum told her he had stopped drinking 24 hours before, but still found himself way over the limit when breathalysed – a claim which district judge Lachhar queried. Mr Albin suggested the offence did not cross the custody threshold.

But Ms Lachhar told Mr Cullum: “A car is a weapon which could kill people when your alcohol reading is that high – and this was really, really high. “It was luck rather than good judgement that there wasn’t an accident. “Within a minute that could have changed, it’s as simple as that.

“This court considered an immediate custodial sentence.” Mr Cullum was given a three-month prison sentence, suspended for 18 months. In addition, he was ordered to pay GBP85 costs, plus a statutory victim services surcharge of GBP122.

Finally, Mr Cullum was banned from driving for two years.

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