Drunk drove despite crash

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A DRUNKEN driver ignored his passenger’s pleas to leave his car where it was after he drove off a Mitton pub car park at 2 a.m. and straight into a wall.

Blackburn magistrates heard the passenger got out of the car and started to walk home, but decided to call the police when his friend drove past him.

But before police could intercept 25-year-old Michael Joel Knape he crashed into a Whalley garden less than a mile away from the pub and was detained by members of the public.

Knape, of Garstang Road, Bilsborrow, Preston, pleaded guilty to driving with excess alcohol, without due care and attention and failing to report an accident. He was ordered to do 100 hours’ unpaid work, made subject to community supervision for 12 months, fined £160 with £100 costs and banned from driving for three years.

Mrs Philippa White (prosecuting) said Knape had been drinking in the Aspinall Arms, at Mitton. He was giving a friend a lift home, but the friend had second thoughts after the car crashed into the wall.

“He tried to discourage the defendant from driving and then got out of the car,” said Mrs White. “When he saw his colleague continue on his journey he was so concerned he called the police and explained the situation.”

Mrs White said three or four minutes later the police received a report that the same car had crashed into the garden of a house on Bridge Terrace, Whalley. The court heard Knape had been previously convicted of drink-driving in April 2007.

Mr Michael Blacklidge (defending) said his client, a chef at The Three Fishes, Mitton, could not believe the position he had put himself in.

“The plan was to get a taxi back to his friend’s house in Langho,” said Mr Blacklidge. “When that didn’t happen he decided to sleep in the car, but after a while took the decision to drive home.”

Mr Blacklidge said that since the incident Knape had arranged accommodation in Whalley so he could continue his work.

“He went to the house where his car came to grief and left a letter of apology and he has apologised in person to the landlord of the Aspinall Arms for what happened outside his pub,” said Mr Blacklidge.