Drink-drive teacher banned from road after A59 smash

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A TEACHING assistant at a Ribble Valley school was more than three times the legal drink-drive limit when he crashed his car on the A59.

Blackburn magistrates heard Christopher John Birchall, who had his two children in the car with him at the time, later told police he had drunk three pints of wine since the accident.

Birchall (41), of Livesey Branch Road, Blackburn, pleaded guilty to driving with excess alcohol. He was fined £200 with £100 costs and banned from driving for 24 months.

Miss Parveen Akhtar (prosecuting) said police who attended the scene of the accident, close to the McDonalds fast food outlet, were told by a member of the public the car which had been involved was parked in a back street off Eshton Terrace, Clitheroe, where Birchall was living at the time.

At first he denied he had been driving, but then admitted he had and said he had been drinking wine but had taken the bottle to the recycling bin in the car park. He later told police he had drunk three pints of wine from a box in about 30 minutes. Birchall gave a reading of 127 against the legal limit of 35.

Mr Andrew Church-Taylor (defending) said Birchall had previously worked as a lecturer at Runshaw College.

“Things went wrong for him after he lost his job as a lecturer,” said Mr Church-Taylor. “His marriage started to deteriorate, his father died and he sought solace in drink.

“Since this incident in February he has not had a drink,” he added.