Drink driver caused family car to spin 180 degrees facing on-coming traffic after smash while three times the limit

A former food flavourer for Walkers crisps has been banned from the roads for smashing his van into an oncoming car while almost three times the drink-drive limit.

Sunday, 1st December 2019, 11:52 am
Updated Monday, 2nd December 2019, 11:00 am
The case was heard at South Tyneside Magistrates' Court.

Stephen Prest, 47, of Lynthorpe, Leechmere, Sunderland, careered across Ryhope Road at 5.10pm on Friday, October 4, hitting the rear right hand door of his victim’s Honda Civic, a court heard.

The force of the impact turned the car 180 degrees towards same-lane oncoming traffic – and left its three passengers needing follow-up medical care and one with panic attacks.

South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court was told the car’s driver saw Prest lose control of his blue Ford Transit and veer towards her but was powerless to act.

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Prosecutor Eve McDonnell said: “She was driving south along Ryhope Road with passengers in the vehicle, her mother and daughter.

“She sees the Ford Transit. The driver did not try to correct his direction. It collided with the rear door of her car, turning it 180 degrees and facing oncoming traffic.”

Mrs McDonnall said the car driver could see her mother slumped towards her, with members of the public then rushing to help.

She said the police were called and Prest appeared “intoxicated and slurring his words”.

In a victim impact statement read to the court, the car driver said: “As a result of the collision regarding three generations of my family, the thought that we could have been killed by somebody thinking that it was perfectly normal to drive after drinking alcohol is inacceptable.”

The statement added all three were undergoing injury-related physiotherapy and the daughter, a student, was suffering panic attacks.

The court heard the family’s car was a write-off and that Prest, an ex-flavour technician at Walkers crisps, which had a factory in Peterlee, had not been forthcoming in supporting the victim with her insurance claim.

A roadside breath test revealed he had 95 microgrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath. The legal limit is 35.

Prest, who defended himself, said all the facts presented to the court were correct and he had self-referred for treatment for anxiety and depression.

He added: “I’m ashamed of myself. I work with drink and alcohol charities. I’ve let everyone down.”

Prest, who had pleaded guilty to drink-driving at a hearing in October, was given a 28-month driving ban and a 12-month community order with a six-month alcohol treatment element.

He must also complete 20 days’ rehabilitation work with the Probation Service, carry out 120 hours of unpaid work and pay £85 court costs and a £90 victim surcharge.