South Shields drink-driver banned after four-vehicle crash on Sunderland road

A drink-driver has been banned from the roads for 18 months after crashing into the back of another car, resulting in a four-vehicle accident.

Ryan Steele, 29, of Longleat Gardens, South Shields, gesticulated at motorist Philip Moffat, who overtook his Range Rover on a 40mph stretch towards Seaburn, Sunderland, at 1.10am on Saturday, December 14, a court heard.

Soon afterwards, as Mr Moffat slowed on entering a 30mph section of Newcastle Road, Sunderland, he clocked the headlights of a car approaching at speed in his rear view mirror, it was said.

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South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court was told Mr Moffat heard skidding and then braced himself for impact as Steele’s 2011-plate motor ploughed into him, resulting in a four-car smash.

The case was dealt with in South Shields at South Tyneside Magistrates' Court. The case was dealt with in South Shields at South Tyneside Magistrates' Court.
The case was dealt with in South Shields at South Tyneside Magistrates' Court.

Prosecutor Eve McDonnell told South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court: “The defendant is involved in a road traffic accident.

“Mr Moffat was driving his vehicle towards Seaburn on a 40mph road. He observed a Range Rover in front of him and passed that vehicle.”

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After accelerating away, Mrs McDonnell said Mr Moffat then saw lights approaching fast, adding: “He checked his speedometer which was showing almost 40mph. He was then in a 30mph and slowed down.”

She said Mr Moffat then saw Steele “skidding towards him”, adding: “Realising that he’s going to be struck, he closes his eyes.”

The court was told Mr Moffat may have blacked out and when he came to, Steele was standing by his window and members of the public were in attendance.

Magistrates heard police arrived and breathalysed Steele, a self-employed pipe fitter, who gave a positive reading for alcohol.

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A follow-up police station test confirmed 69mcg of alcohol in 100ml of breath, against a legal limit is 35mcg.

David Forrester, defending, said Steele insisted Mr Moffat had gesticulated at him as he was overtaken, adding: “This is not perhaps the most straightforward matter.

“He’s not been charged with careless driving, he’s not been charged with dangerous driving, he’s not been charged with driving in excess of the speed limit.

“He does not agree with much of what has been said. He doesn’t accept any responsibility for causing this accident.

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“He doesn’t consider himself to be significantly impaired. He had three pints earlier that night. He apologises for his behaviour.”

Steele, who pleaded guilty to drink driving, was also fined £120 and must pay £85 court costs and a £32 victim surcharge.