Judge tells South Shields drink driver it was 'nothing short of a miracle' he did not kill or seriously injure anyone

A South Tyneside building site worker has been slammed by a judge but spared prison for driving so drunk he almost hit a cyclist while heading home.

Jamie Feechan, 38, of Borough Road, South Shields, was told it was a “miracle” he had not killed or seriously injured during his escapade.

Feechan was seen heading for home on the dual carriageway John Reid Road by a suspicious off-duty policeman on Saturday, September 17, a court heard.

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The officer tailed him after seeing him almost collide with a bike rider - and watched as he alighted his Vauxhall Astra and stumbled into his garden.

The case was heard at South Tyneside Magistrates Court.

Back-up was summoned and Feechan gave a test reading of 120mcg of alcohol in 100ml of breath. The legal limit is 35mcg.

Jailing him for eight weeks, suspended for a year, and banning him from driving for 30 months, District Judge Zoe Passfield said: “This was an incredibly high reading.

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“Having heard the description of your behaviour when you stepped out of your car, it’s nothing short of a miracle that no-one was killed or seriously injured.”

Prosecutor John Garside told the borough’s magistrates’ court: “The defendant was seen by an off-duty police officer who followed him home after witnessing driving at a poor standard.

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“He almost hit someone on a bike, and so he followed him home. He saw the defendant almost fall over in his garden.”

Feechan, who has one previous conviction, pleaded guilty to drink driving.

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Geoffrey Forrester, defending, described Feechan, a father, as “as entirely decent man”, adding: “He’s pleaded guilty at the first opportunity.

“He’s a decent man who’s done a stupid thing and is incredibly ashamed.”

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Judge Passfield also ordered Feechan, who is employed on a building site opposite the court, to complete 180 hours of unpaid work and pay a £154 victim surcharge and £85 court costs.

She warned him he would go to prison if he drove during the term of his disqualification and while on a suspended sentence.

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Feechan was offered a place on a drink driver rehabilitation course, completion of which reduces a ban by a quarter.