Drink drive dad crashed through police tape

Burnley Magistrates' Court
Burnley Magistrates' Court

A drink-drive dad who left two children home alone was caught after he drove into a police cordon at the scene of a serious road smash, a court heard.

John Thornton (40) who was found to be more than twice the limit, went through tape placed across the road to secure the area and stopped about 10 metres behind the crash vehicle. He then reversed, turned round and was chased by officers on foot.

Burnley magistrates were told how Thornton responded: “No point, I will definitely be over,” when he was asked if he had been drinking and was told he would have to give a breath test.

He informed police he had left two youngsters in bed to nip to the shops. Thornton blew 119 microgrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath at the roadside and 77 at the police station. The legal limit is 35.

The hearing was told the father-of-four, who previously lived in Burnley, had been upset over the recent breakdown of his relationship, had turned to drink and wanted more alcohol to help him sleep. He was arrested and police alerted the children’s mother, who went to look after them.

The scaffolder, now of Stacksteads, admitted driving with excess alcohol on Plantation Street, in the town, on July 1st.

He was banned for 18 months and fined £380, with a £38 victim surcharge and £85 costs.

Prosecutor Miss Parveen Akhtar told the court police were attending the accident on Booth Road, Stacksteads at about 7-30pm and cordoned off the area to preserve the scene.

At about 10-40pm, they saw headlights coming towards them down the hill and a vehicle drove in the cordoned area, past three lots of police scene tape, and stopped about 10 metres behind the crashed car. The vehicle then reversed a couple of feet and turned round. Officers gave foot chase on foot and the car pulled up about 30 metres away.

Miss Akhtar said Thornton told officers he had left the children “in order to quickly nip to the shop.”

He was arrested and police went and spoke to relatives.

The prosecutor added: “The house keys were handed over to the children’s mother who said she would go and attend to the children.”

Mr Richard Birtwistle (defending) said Thornton made a “terribly poor decision” and handed the bench a “heartfelt letter” from his former partner.

The solicitor said the pair were in a long relationship which had “hit troubled waters” three weeks before the offence.

He continued: “John Thornton readily accepts he was in great emotional difficulties in dealing with the separation and was drinking to excess.

“He was doing so to block out the emotional difficulties he was experiencing.”