Tip-off led to arrest of drink driver — (The Hartlepool Mail)

SSRI Ed note: Family warns police when drunk man on antidepressants takes car out, he is stopped, found impaired. Says meds made him feel weird.

Original article not longer available

The Hartlepool Mail

Published Date: 20 November 2008  Last Updated: 20 November 2008 3:01 PM

By Tracy Walker

A DRINK-DRIVER was found to be more than three times the alcohol limit after concerned family members tipped off police he had got behind the wheel.

Steven Edward Hall was spotted by officers driving at 85mph down an A19 slip road.

Family members had rung police to warn them that Hall was on his way home following a drinking binge.

They then lay in wait for Hall, a team leader at NSK Bearings, in Peterlee, before following him onto the A19 towards the town at about 9pm.

While joining the dual carriageway via a slip road, an officer saw Hall accelerate at around 85mph.

The officer followed Hall at a safe distance, before eventually pulling him over in Acre Rigg Road, in Peterlee.

Hall claimed he was suffering from depression, his medication had been making him feel “weird” and “strange” and his doctor told him afterwards he shouldn’t have drank while on the medication.

Magistrates sentenced Hall to a community order with 120 hours unpaid work.

Debra Jones, prosecuting at Peterlee Magistrates’ Court, said: “Officers received information that a suspected drink-driver was in the Murton area, heading towards the A19 turn-off just past Dalton Park.

“A few minutes later, the officer sees a Vauxhall Astra heading towards the A19.

“Once on the slip road he accelerates to approximately 85mph before having to slow down for roadworks restricting traffic flow to one lane.

“The officer followed at a safe distance and saw the car turn off towards the Peterlee exit. The car was stopped on Acre Rigg Road.”

Hall was arrested and taken to the police station, where a breath test revealed he had 110 microgrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath. The legal limit is 35.

Hall, 28, of Morton Square, Peterlee, admitted driving with excess alcohol on October 28.

Neil Hodgson, mitigating, said Hall’s prescribed anti-depressants “hadn’t been agreeing with him”.

“After this occurred, the following day he went to his GP and he said he shouldn’t have had a drink when taking the medication.”

Mr Hodgson said Hall had been arguing with his wife and had been drinking during the course of the day.

He said he went to see his parents in Murton and “wasn’t getting a great deal of sympathy” about feeling “weird and strange” because of the medication so decided to drive home.

“His parents and sister were concerned so they rang the police and said he is not right. The police were waiting for him”, added Mr Hodgson.

Hall was also banned from driving for two years and ordered to pay £60 costs.

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