Café owner jailed for drink driving incident

Richard Preston, 46, mounted the kerb hitting the pedestrian and throwing him into the air
Richard Preston, 46, mounted the kerb hitting the pedestrian and throwing him into the air

A drunk café bar owner has been jailed for smashing his car into a 62-year-old pedestrian fracturing his arm and leg while three-times over the drink-drive limit.

Richard Preston, 46, mounted the kerb hitting the pedestrian and throwing him into the air. He landed on his head. Preston’s Renault Clio then ploughed on 20ft hitting a lamp post bending it 45-degrees. It closed the flyover near Bridlington Railway Station.

Preston was jailed for seven months and banned from driving for five years

Preston was jailed for seven months and banned from driving for five years

Witnesses to the mayhem immediately smelt alcohol on Mr Preston’s breath. He spoke slowly, repeated himself and did not even know he had been in a crash. When asked if he had been drinking he replied: “Only the one.”

His victim was taken to hospital and needed surgery to put pins in his broken leg and a plate in his arm. He also had stitches to his head and was detained in hospital for 10 days. He told police “I thought I could have been killed.”

Mr Preston of New Pasture Close, Bridlington, appeared for sentence at Hull Crown Court (Thursday 19 November) after pleading a charge of causing serious injury by dangerous driving and driving over the prescribed alcohol limit.

Principal Crown advocate Phillip Evans said the 62-year-old pedestrian had been walking home on Bridlington’s Station Road having enjoyed a night out. He was struck from behind by Mr Preston around 8pm on January 10 this year.

“It is the Crown’s case Mr Preston mounted the kerb on Station Road and having done so struck the complaint throwing him into the air,” said Mr Evans “When he came to the ground he banged his head sustaining a wound that required six stitches to repair.

“He sustained serious injuries. He broke an arm and his left leg was broken just below the knee and those fractures required surgery.

“The defendant’s car collided with the lamp post 20 ft away extinguishing the headlights as it did so. Two witnesses approached the car and found the defendant plainly under the influence of alcohol. He was speaking slowly and repeating himself. Mr Preston was told to turn off the engine to which he replied: “Why?” He was told “Because you have been in a crash.”

A police breath test proved he had 121 microgrammes of alcohol in 100 milliliters of breath. The legal limit is 35.

Defence barrister Taryn Turner said Mr Preston was a businessman who ran a successful business in the resort and urged the judge not to jail him.

“I hope the court accepts the defendant is genuinely remorseful and bitterly regrets what he did. It was an isolated episode and one the defendant is bitterly ashamed of.

“He is not a man who normally has a drink and takes the car. Why he did so on this occasion, he cannot give an explanation for. He had been at his business premises for quite a while that day, even though he did not expect to be. He had been at the bar. He tried to get a taxi. At the time the council was doing work in the road and taxis were reluctant to visit because they would get dirty. He lost his temper and got in to the car. That was foolish. He knows society views this as bad behaviour.”

She said he had suffered bouts of depression, his parents were going through a divorce and the compensation he will have to pay his victim will run in to the tens of thousands of pounds.

She said his wife would try to carry on in business and he was a charitable man well-respected in Bridlington.

Sentencing Judge Jeremy Richardson, QC, said: “Anyone who drives a motor car having consumed a large amount of alcohol must expect to be sent to prison. Driving a car brings with it great advantages, but also very considerable obligations; one of which, is not to drink alcohol in excess of the limit allowed by law. You were three and half times over the legal limit. Such a person is an acute danger to other road users and pedestrians. This was a shameful incident which carried serious consequences. You took an appalling decision to drive home. You caused these injuries. You could have killed him.”

He jailed Preston for seven months and banned him from driving for five years and ordered he should take an extended re-test.