South Shields drink-driver, 74, crashed on Commercial Road after Christmas Day wake

A retired engineer who drank with his sister on Christmas Day to mourn lost relatives ploughed head on into an oncoming car the next afternoon.
The incident happened in Commercial Road on Christmas DayThe incident happened in Commercial Road on Christmas Day
The incident happened in Commercial Road on Christmas Day

Eric Parker, 74, was blinded by the low-lying winter sun when he crashed his Ford C Max near on Commercial Road, South Shields, on Boxing Day.

And he was also two-and-a-half times the limit when blood tested after the 1.30pm accident, though he had not consumed alcohol since the night before, a court heard.

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Parker, of Commercial Road, South Shields, told magistrates in South Tyneside he had already relinquished his driving licence to the DVLA.

But they still imposed a 17-month driving ban and ordered him to pay fines and costs of over £200.

Prosecutor Leanne Duffy said: “The witness, who was the other driver, has suffered extensive damage to their car, the airbags have deployed.

“Police attended and the defendant had glazed eyes and his speech was slurred.

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“Only one specimen of breath was obtained at the police station, therefore a sample of blood was taken.”

Ms Duffy said Parker’s sample showed 199mgs of alcohol in 100mls of blood. The legal limit is 80mgs.

Joanne Gatens, defending, said Parker and his sister had suffered heartbreak in recent years and had spent Christmas Day together.

She said their family loss included the death of his daughter and son-in-law overseas over a decade ago, and more recently their brother and her son.

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Ms Gatens added: “He had been at his sister’s on Christmas Day. They had their wake on Christmas Day.

“They had a wake for two lost relatives that year, and for lost relatives.

“He had had breakfast and made to leave at around 1.30pm. He had driven past the Dolly Peel, where the sun can be glaring and low lying.

“His car has crossed the road and he has collided with another vehicle.

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“He says it was entirely his fault, but he had not had a drink that day and thought he was ok to drive. He apologises.

“There’s one offence on his record but that was minor and almost 20 years ago.”

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

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