A DRUNK driver drove along a pavement as schoolchildren headed home just so he could get past waiting traffic.
Conrad Gingell has been banned from driving for four years after he was found to be more than four times over the drink-drive limit.
Peterlee Magistrates’ Court heard the 37-year-old was caught after he undertook Detective Sergeant Cliff Down, who had been waiting in traffic at the junction of Yoden Way and Warren Street, in Horden.
Debra Jones, prosecuting, explained the incident happened on February 7 at 3.40pm.
She said: “Sergeant Down was on plain-clothed duty and was driving towards the lights.
“At this time the lights were on red and the roads were busy, as it was just at the time the schools were coming out.
“He saw a vehicle in his mirror coming down the nearside and on the pavement and described it travelling at 30 miles per hour.
“The officer lowered his window and asked what he was doing and he indicated there was an ambulance coming up.
“The officer could not see any ambulance and contact was made with the constabulary’s control and it was confirmed there was no ambulances in the area at the time.”
Gingell, of Beverley Way, Peterlee, had 162 microgrammes of alcohol in 100 millitires of breath – the limit is 35microgrammes.
When interviewed, he said he and his three friends, who had been in the vehicle, had been drinking lager, although could not tell police how much he had consumed himself.
Gingell said there had been no pedestrians on the path at the time, repeated his claim he saw blue lights and disputed the suggested speed.
Gingell, who was disqualified from driving for a year for drink driving in 2007, admitted undertaking the manoeuvre to skip traffic.
He entered guilty pleas to drink driving and driving without due care and attention.
Jaxon Taylor, mitigating, explained Gingell, who has since scrapped his car, was on the way to pick up a friend to carry on the drinking session when the incident happened.
He said the dad’s boozing began after a break up with his common-law-wife, and has sought help for his drinking.
In addition to his disqualification, magistrates sentenced him to 12 weeks’ imprisonment, suspended for 12 months, to include supervision and a six month alcohol treatment requirement and ordered him to pay £85 costs.
No separate penalty was given for driving without due care and attention.