Drink-driver banned from roads after crashing Mercedes van when swerving to avoid cat

A drink-driver has been banned from the roads after he crashed in South Tyneside – while swerving to avoid a cat.

Thomas McEwan’s error in Fowler Street, South Shields, could cost him his job, as well as a lengthy driving ban and fines and costs of over £1,000.

McEwan, 23, of Pettit Way, Boston, Lincolnshire, was working in the town when he popped for a bite and a drink on Friday, August 5.

He had not eaten all day and was affected by alcohol when he got into his Mercedes van to drive back to his digs, borough magistrates heard.

South Tyneside Magistrates Court.


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They were told a cat ran into his path as he motored at almost three times the limit, forcing him to swerve and crash into middle road barriers at 8.25pm.

Prosecutor Anne Mitchell said: “The circumstances are that the defendant was driving a vehicle in Fowler Street.

“He was involved in an incident where he collided with street furniture, which was a barrier. His airbag deployed.

“Police attended and found him still at the scene. He gave a positive roadside breath test.”


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McEwan, who has no previous convictions, pleaded guilty to a charge of driving with excess alcohol.

He gave a reading of 98mcg of alcohol in 100ml of alcohol. The legal limit is 35mcg.

Jason Smith, defending, said: “It’s the perfect storm. Mr Nelson drives all over the country as a refrigeration installation expert.

“He was here doing some work and was stationed at a hotel. He went for something to eat and drink, it was the first food he’d had all day.


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“Unfortunately for him, a cat ran out into the street, and he swerved and hit an item in the middle of the road.

“He has no previous convictions, warnings or reprimands. He accepts responsibility for his actions.

“In reality, this is going to hit him hard. You are going to disqualify him for up to 28 months. The reality is that he’s going to lose his job.

“He’s been told by his boss that any term of disqualification over 12 months will cost him his job.”


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Magistrates banned McEwan from driving for 25 months and fined him £716, with a £286 victim surcharge and £85 court costs.