House smash driver avoids jail
A DRINK driver who ploughed into a family’s home after a vodka binge has avoided jail.
Ian Wallace, 26, was nearly three times over the drink drive limit when he crashed into the home in Bruntoft Avenue, Hartlepool, at about 5am.
Householder Percy Charakupa and his wife and three children were asleep in their beds when they were woken by a loud crash.
They had to move into a hotel for a while after the house was declared unsafe.
Wallace fled the scene, leaving his BMW 3 Series partially embedded in the wall of the house, but was tracked down at his home later.
He had downed 15 double vodkas and a bottle of wine on a night out before he got a taxi home at 4am.
But after a row on the phone with his girlfriend, he jumped into his car and set off to see her.
He lost control when he went round a bend and smashed into the house.
David Crook, prosecuting at Teesside Crown Court, said: “Mr Charakupa described being awoken by a very loud bang and felt his house shake.
“He could see interior walls downstairs appeared to be cracked. When he opened the front door he couldn’t get out because the car was blocking his way.
“The defendant’s car was partially embedded in the wall of the house having driven through the front garden wall before he hit the house.
“The defendant had disappeared.”
Wallace, a marine engineer, was arrested at his home and found to have 97mg of alcohol in his breath. The legal limit is 35mg.
He caused £3,000 of damage to the house and repair work is still ongoing, the court heard.
Mr Charakupa said the incident on October 20 had “turned his life upside down” and his children are scared to go to sleep on their own.
Wallace, of Dodsworth Walk, Hartlepool, admitted dangerous driving and drink driving.
He has no previous convictions,
Representing himself in court, he said: “I don’t know how the family must be feeling to be fair.
“I do apologise for what I’ve done, it was stupidity.”
He said the temporary loss of his licence had affected his job which he would lose if he was sent to prison.
Judge Howard Crowson described it as “a bad case” but said he could avoid immediate jail because of Wallace’s guilty pleas and previous good character.
He said: “This has been a difficult lesson for you.
“You have come very close to prison, it’s your good character that has saved you.”
Wallace was given a two-year driving ban and 12 months prison suspended for 18 months with probation.
He must also complete 150 hours unpaid work.
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Weather for Hartlepool
Sunday 19 May 2013
Temperature: 9 C to 16 C
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Temperature: 9 C to 17 C
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