Hartlepool funeral director’s job at risk after being banned from the roads for drink driving

Funeral director Adam Christal leaving Hartlepool Magistrates Court.
Funeral director Adam Christal leaving Hartlepool Magistrates Court.

A FUNERAL director faces being suspended from work after been banned from the roads for drink driving.

Adam Christal, who works and drives vehicles for Mason and Martin Funeral home, in Park Road, Hartlepool, was found to be almost twice the legal booze limit when he was pulled over by police.

The 29-year-old – who has never been in trouble with the law before – was spotted by officers driving a Vauxhall Astra car in Victoria Road. The incident took place in the early hours, and Christal was off–duty at the time.

The court heard that the vehicle was “swerving” from one side of the carriageway to another and almost hit a kerb after it came off the mini roundabout in Church Street.

Prosecuting, Joanne Hesse told Hartlepool Magistrates’ Court: “The defendant was stopped driving a Vauxhall Astra car after officers saw him swerving from one side of the road to another and almost hit a kerb.

“They could smell alcohol on his breath when he was taken into custody.”

Christal was found to have 67 microgrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath. The legal limit is 35 microgrammes.

Mrs Hesse added: “He entered a guilty plea at the first opportunity and has no previous convictions recorded against him.”

Christal, of Catcote Road, Hartlepool, pleaded guilty to the drink driving offence on June 9.

He represented himself in court and told the bench: “I’m very sorry, it was a moment of stupidity on my behalf.

“I had consumed alcohol during the day and I felt okay to drive.

“I wasn’t aware that that’s how I was driving, but that’s what the police officer saw and that’s why he stopped me.

“I didn’t feel that I wasn’t in control of the vehicle.”

He added: “I’m devastated about this and the effect on myself, my partner and my employer.”

He told the bench that the offence does have a potential effect on his employment as a funeral director as driving “plays quite a big part in my role”.

Christal, who started work at the funeral home in 2008 starting as a chauffeur bearer before becoming a funeral director, added: “It does have a potential to effect my employment.

“Mr Martin has come along today.

“My employer can’t do anything until the outcome today, but I will be suspended due to an investigation with work. They will have to decide on what my punishment is with work.

“It could have an effect financially depending on the outcome. I’m a funeral director and driving does play quite a big part in my role. I do drive daily within my role.”

Chairman of the bench Kate Brown banned him from driving for 17 months, fined him £350, ordered him to pay £85 costs and a £35 victim surcharge.