South Shields man caught two times over drink-drive limit at hospital after answering call for help

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A motorist who made a mercy dash to hospital to come to the aid of a pal who told him she had taken an overdose landed himself with a road ban after being caught more than two times over the drink-drive limit by police.

Christopher Paul got behind the wheel of the woman’s Volkswagen Beetle car and took her and her two children to South Tyneside Hospital for treatment.

I would invite the magistrates to take a human approach and credit the situation he found himself in.

Geoffrey Forrester

But when staff at the hospital feared he had been drinking alcohol, they contacted police.

The 33-year-old was stopped by police as he returned to the hospital – after driving to the woman’s address so he could pick up clothes for the children.

He was arrested after failing a roadside breath test on a one-way street in the grounds of the hospital, with police inquiries also revealing he did not have insurance cover to drive the vehicle.

He recorded a reading of 75mcg of alcohol in 100ml of breath – more than double the legal limit of 35mcg.

The court heard that Paul had served a previous driving ban for the same offence in 2003.

Paul, of Chesterton Road, South Shields, admitted charges of driving with excess alcohol and using a vehicle without third party insurance when he appeared before South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court.

Angela Narey, prosecuting, said: “The offence occured on Monday, May 11.

“Information was received by the police from staff at South Tyneside Hospital that a male had drove a VW Beetle to the hospital and smelt strongly of alcohol.

“Police attended and saw him driving on a one way street at the hospital and he failed a roadside breath test.”

Geoffrey Forrester, defending, said: “He had been drinking the previous evening and had no intention of driving.

“But a friend told him she had taken an overdose.

“His immediate response was to drive her to hospital along with her children.

“She was then kept in hospital for tests to be done and he then went to her house to pick up clothing for the children.

“If he had only made one trip to the hospital, he would’ve had a special reasons argument, with a good chance of success.

“I would invite the magistrates to take a humane approach and credit the situation he found himself in.”

Paul was banned from driving for 20 months and must pay a fine of £110, a £20 victim surcharge and a £150 criminal court charge.