Drink-drive crash motorist is ordered to pay a hefty £2,935

Chesterfield magistrates' court
Chesterfield magistrates' court

A drink-drive crash motorist who was in collision with a lorry on a dual carriageway has been ordered to pay out a hefty £2,935.

Chesterfield magistrates’ court heard on July 13 how James Christopher Steels, 66, of The Hill, at Glapwell, Chesterfield, was involved in a collision on the A617 Hasland bypass and also collided with a central reservation before he pulled up.

Prosecuting solicitor Becky Allsop said: “The lorry driver was in the nearside lane getting up to speed and felt a large thud to the offside of his vehicle and he saw a car on his offside grinding to a halt.

“He pulled into a slip road going to Hasland and walked over to the Lexus and the driver got out and he seemed confused and he was acting strangely as if trying to be sober and he thought he could smell alcohol.

“The offside and the nearside of the defendant’s vehicle had damage as if it had bounced off the central reservation.”

Police confirmed the Lexus had suffered damage to both sides appearing to have hit the central reservation and then the lorry, according to Mrs Allsop.

An officer also stated that Steels smelled strongly of alcohol and he had slurred speech and was leaning on the car and was struggling to follow instructions.

Steels, who has a previous drink-drive offence from 2002, registered 56microgrammes of alcohol in 100millilitres of breath when the legal limit is 35microgrammes.

He pleaded guilty to exceeding the alcohol drink-drive limit after the incident on June 27.

However, defence solicitor Lyndsay Clarke said Steels disputes the circumstances claiming he had been overtaking the 40tonne lorry and it had moved into his lane and he had taken evasive action.

Ms Clarke added Steels, who works for an insurance company which he has previously sold, had been to see a client and had two large glasses of wine and had returned to his office at Whittington Moor and later driven home when the collision happened.

Steels’ airbag had deployed, according to Ms Clarke, and he was shaken which is why he was unsteady on his feet and he also suffers with arthritis and asthma.

Ms Clarke added that Steels felt two glasses of wine would not have put him over the legal drink-drive limit.

Magistrates fined Steels £2,680 and ordered him to pay a £170 victim surcharge and £85 costs.

He was also disqualified from driving for 16 months.