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Sparks fly as drink driver takes to three wheels

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CARE worker Thomas Jones drove more than six miles after a wheel fell off his car.

Jones, pictured below, was nearly two times the drink-drive limit when his Vauxhall Astra collided with a central reservation, causing his wheel to come off.

But the 27-year-old carried on driving at speeds of more than 50mph despite sparks flying off the road surface.

He crashed his car into another vehicle before he was stopped by police and arrested.

Now Jones, who cares for the elderly and vulnerable, has been spared a jail sentence at Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court after the judge treated his offending as an aberration.

Prosecutor Paul Farrow said witnesses saw the Astra swerving from left to right on Ash Bank Road, Werrington, at 6.25pm on April 15.

Mr Farrow said: “The car struck the central reservation area but continued uphill. The front driver’s side tyre came off.

“But the Astra carried on with sparks coming from the wheel.

“The witness travelled through Cellarhead crossroads at 55mph in a 60mph zone.

“The defendant was keeping up with him and he crossed on the other side of the road.

“The witness turned off to JCB and the defendant carried on into Cheadle with sparks flying from the car.”

On Leek Road, Cheadle, another witness slowed and stopped by a tractor. But the Astra collided with the back of her car.

Jones was stopped and gave a positive roadside test.

At the police station he gave a reading of 68 micrograms of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath, nearly twice the legal limit of 35.

In his interview he said he thought the wheel came off close to where his journey ended. He could not recall a collision.

He added he had a couple of glasses of wine earlier in the day.

Jones, of Draycott Road, Tean, pleaded guilty to dangerous driving and drink-driving.

Robert Smith, mitigating, said Jones was ‘exceptionally foolish’ to get in his vehicle after drinking wine and to carry on driving when it must have been obvious the wheel had come off.

He said Jones had began drinking because of ‘problems’ that had developed with his neighbours.

Mr Smith said: “He was living in a High Street location and had a problematic neighbour.

“He was depressed, frustrated and angry and bought a bottle of wine. He went fishing to get away from the house.”

Mr Smith said Jones, a father, is a care worker for the elderly and vulnerable.

He added: “Every day he wakes up and regrets what he has done.”

Judge Paul Glenn sentenced Jones to 10 months in prison, suspended for 18 months, with supervision and a requirement to attend the drink-impaired drivers’ course.

He was also made the subject of a four month curfew from 10pm to 6am.

And he was banned from driving for three years and must pay the court £300 costs and a £100 surcharge.

Judge Glenn said: “After losing a front tyre you continued to drive for over six miles at speeds of in excess of 55mph.”

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