A sixty-five-year-old Mansfield man drank vodka all night to calm his nerves before attempting a 44 mile drive to Leicester to give a presentation, a court heard.
Kenneth Smith, of the Paddocks,was jailed for 20 weeks after he pleaded guilty to drink driving at Mansfield Magistrates’ Court on Thursday 19th February.
Donna Fawcett, prosecuting, told the court that Smith had a work presentation to give at a meeting in Leicester and was so consumed with nerves that he had stayed up till 3am the night before preparing and drinking vodka.
As he set off down the M1 on the 44 mile drive the next morning, he was followed by a motorist who noticed that he was driving erratically.
Realising that he was in no fit state to drive, Smith pulled into a lay-by where he attempted to call his son for assistance.
The motorist who had been following Smith then pulled up behind him and alerted the police.
They said that Smith’s car was swerving from lane to lane, clipped a roundabout and almost collided with a lorry.
Arriving at the scene, police noticed Smith had ‘glazed eyes’ and was slurring his words. A roadside test revealed he was nearly three times over the limit.
Smith’s defence solicitor, Simon King, said that, at 65 years of age, Smith had finally admitted to himself that he was an alcoholic.
Mr King said: “He is very ashamed about what happened and has finally realise that he needs to address his drinking problem. This will be his fourth drink driving offence.”
“Mr Smith doesn’t drink everyday, but once he does start drinking he says he just doesn’t know when to stop.”
“The night before the presentation he was feeling agitated and anxious, and before he knew it was drinking excessively in an attempt to calm his nerves.”
“Mr Smith knows that, inevitably, he will lose his license today.”
“But he has told me that he would have no intention of gettingback in a car for a long time anyway.”
“He doesn’t want to be back on the road until his drinking problem is sorted once and for all. He recognises that he would be putting other people in danger if he drove any time soon.”
Mr King added that the defendant was ‘taking steps’ to getting his life back on track.
He said: “Mr Smith has joined a drink rehabilitation group and is doing well with the support of his wife and family, whom he is very close to.”
Magistrates imposed a 20 week jail sentence and banned Smith from driving for 52 weeks.
He was also ordered to pay an £80 victim surcharge.