Barrowford drink-driver caught after tyre ‘blow-out’

Burnley Magistrates Court.
Burnley Magistrates Court.
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A drink driver almost twice the limit was given the minimum ban after he told magistrates he would lose his job if it was more than 12 months.

Father-of-two David Clive Johnstone (39) told the Burnley bench it would be catastrophic for him and his family if he was sacked. He said he was not a drinker and that what he had done was “genuinely out of character”.

Johnstone, of Francis Avenue, Barrowford, had been caught in the early hours after a police officer spotted his Audi A6 leaning to one side and making a noise and saw that most of a front tyre had disintegrated.

Johnstone, who is due to marry in July, admitted driving with excess alcohol. on Gisburn Road, Barrowford, on November 21st. He was fined £670, with a £67 victim surcharge, £85 costs and a £150 criminal courts charge.

Prosecutor Aisha Akhtar said a police officer’s attention was drawn to Johnstone’s vehicle at 1-30am. The front offside wheel was damaged and most of the tyre had disintegrated. The defendant was requested to stop, did so and said he had had a blow-out just round the corner.

Miss Akhtar added: “The officer disputes this as he says he must have driven some distance for the tyre to be in the state it was in.”

Johnstone failed a roadside breath test, and at the police station blew 65 micrograms of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath – the legal limit is 35.

The defendant, who was not represented by a solicitor, said he had had four pints of cider between 7-30pm and midnight and had not eaten for well over 24 hours.

He could not get a taxi, did not feel drunk and made the decision, wrongly, to drive home. He said he was pulled over 30 seconds from home because he had a flat tyre. “I knew because the warning light had come on. I was close to home and was just trying to freewheel home on to the drive. I was surprised by the reading but fully accept my guilt on that score. Certainly, there was no element of bad driving or speeding on my part.”

He said he drove 40,000 miles a year in his job. If he was banned for more than a year, he would more than likely be dismissed immediately. “I’m embarrassed and I’m ashamed to be stood here in front of you,” he said.