Drink-driver almost crashed Fiat in Tyne Tunnel after having 'a couple of vodkas'

A vodka-drinking driver was tailed by a horrified witness who saw him almost collide with the inside wall of the Tyne Tunnel.

Saturday, 22nd May 2021, 6:00 am

Brian Shepherd, 66, of Jubilee Court, Hebburn, managed to avoid an accident but police were tipped off about his antics, a court heard.

The pursuing driver followed him to shop in Howe Street, Hebburn, and kept watch until officers arrived at around 9.30pm on Saturday, April 3.

They were given Shepherd’s description and pulled him over after he left the shop, got in his blue Fiat Bravo and started to pull away.

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The barriers at the Tyne Tunnel, where the driver was seen almost hitting the wall.

A breath test showed he had 65mcgs of alcohol in 100mls of breath, almost twice the 35mcgs limit, magistrates in South Tyneside were told.

Shepherd is now starting an 18-month roads’ ban, spoiling what his solicitor said was an unblemished 40-year driving record.

Prosecutor Leanne Duffy said: “The witness was travelling through the Tyne Tunnel southbound when he saw a blue Fiat Bravo driving in front of him.

“He saw that the vehicle was swerving all over the road and almost hit the wall of the Tyne Tunnel.

“The witness contacted police and followed the Fiat to Howe Street. He saw him get out and go into a shop.

“While he was on the phone to the police, he flagged down a passing police vehicle.

“The witness saw the driver come out of the shop and pull away from the curb. The police asked him to stop.

“He said that he’d had a couple of vodkas about thirty minutes before.

“He failed a roadside breath test and was taken to the police station where he gave a positive reading on a CAMIC device.”

Jason Smith, defending, said: “He is somewhat askance that he was over the limit.

“He had a call from his partner to go to get her from Tynemouth. He’d had a couple of drinks and went to collect her.

“He can’t believe that he blew over the limit. He has an unblemished driving record of nigh-on 40 years.”

Shepherd, who pleaded guilty to drink-driving, was also fined £120, with £85 court costs and a £34 victim surcharge.

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