Hartlepool fire service official involved in crash after drink driving

Gary Cawley.
Gary Cawley.

A senior official for Cleveland Fire Brigade has been banned from driving after getting behind the wheel while over the limit and crashing into a fence.

Gary Cawley, 52, was disqualified from driving after he pleaded guilty to drink driving at Teesside Magistrates Court.

He is employed by Cleveland Fire Brigade and is currently seconded as a director to a community interest company that raises money for community work by the brigade.

The court heard how police were called after Cawley crashed into a fence in his silver Mercedes close to his home in Valley Drive, Hartlepool, at about 9pm on March 25.

Prosecutor David Maddison said: “Officers were able to follow a debris trail along Valley Drive to the driveway of a house on that street.

“There officers found a silver Mercedes with the registration the same as had been left at the scene.”
Police gained entry to the address after getting no reply and arrested Cawley when they smelled alcohol.

He was found to have 60 microgrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath. The legal limit is 35.

In interview, he said he had drunk about three or four pints of lager since 5pm.

John Relton, mitigating, said Cawley had gone to the pub with friends after working for 27 hours straight. He had just returned from a trip to Abu Dhabi in his work role.

Mr Relton said Cawley had not planned to drive home and why he did remained a mystery to him.

He said: “What he does know is it has had a massive impact on his future career which has been hitherto unblemished.”

District Judge Meek accepted the offence was “wholly out of character” and said she hoped Cawley would not lose his job.

She added: “It is a serious offence because of the dangers inherent in driving a vehicle when you are not entirely in control which is clearly the case here. The offence is aggravated by the fact there was an accident.”

Cawley was banned for 16 months, fined £1,600, and ordered to pay £85 costs and a £160 surcharge.