Drink driver sped past ambulance ‘like rocket’

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Courts: Reports from the law courts.
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A DRINK driver who overtook an ambulance ‘like a rocket’ then lost control and crashed his sports car into two parked vehicles has been sent to jail.

David Cheeseman, aged 24, was nearly twice the drink drive limit when he crashed his Subaru Impreza then struck two more cars, writing one off and causing £1,800 of damage to the other.

Sheffield Crown Court heard the ambulance was driving through Parkgate, Rotherham when the Impreza overtook at speed just after midnight on October 8, 2011.

David Wain, prosecuting, said the car tried to negotiate a right-hand bend and veered into a parked car pushing it into another vehicle.

Cheeseman, of Tooker Road, Wellgate, Rotherham, drove off again without stopping but the ambulance crew took down his registration number and he was arrested three hours later.

Mr Wain said on arrest Cheeseman had a blood alcohol reading of 64 microgrammes in 100ml of breath – when the legal limit is 35mg.

He told police he had been drinking earlier in the evening but had drunk vodka after the smash because he was so shaken up.

Mr Wain said the offence was committed while Cheeseman was the subject of a suspended sentence imposed for assault and criminal damage.

He admitted failing to stop, dangerous driving and driving over the prescribed limit.

Ian Groom, defending, said until last May Cheeseman was of good character and was working for his father’s business, painting petrol stations and doing administration.

That changed when he made an ‘impulsive and rash decision’ and attacked a close friend who ‘betrayed him’.

Speaking of the driving offence, he said: “It was an error of judgement. It was a single manoeuvre which was dangerous and which had awful consequences but not as awful as they might have been.”

He added Cheeseman’s car, a present from his father, had been confiscated by the police and he couldn’t afford to have it released.

Sentencing him to 16 weeks’ imprisonment, Judge Michael Murphy QC said: “If and when a person breaches a suspended sentence, the person must serve the sentence.

“Three months after the assault you committed a serious piece of bad driving whilst under the influence of alcohol.

“The new offence itself would be serious enough to call for an immediate sentence of imprisonment, let alone that you did it within weeks of the suspended sentence.”

Cheeseman was jailed for eight weeks for the original offence, eight weeks consecutive for the driving offence and banned from the roads for 18 months.