Motorist who was almost five times over the drink drive limit is jailed

A motorist caught reversing on an A14 slip road in Northamptonshire while almost five times over the drink drive limit has been jailed for 20 weeks and disqualified from driving for more than three years.

Benjamin Clarke, 33, of Leicester Road, Market Harborough, was spotted by officers from the Northamptonshire Police Roads Policing Team, attempting to back onto the roundabout at junction 3, near Rothwell.

Officers stopped Clarke’s green Mercedes at about 2pm on Friday, January 13, and conducted a roadside breath test. After registering an astonishing 202 breath reading, he was arrested on suspicion of driving while over the prescribed limit of alcohol.

Once in custody, Clarke provided an evidential breath sample which was a staggering 173 – just shy of five times the legal drink drive limit which is 35 micrograms of alcohol per 100 millilitres of breath.

Clarke was subsequently charged and remanded in custody until Monday, January 16, when he appeared before Wellingborough Magistrates’ Court, where he pleaded guilty to driving a motor vehicle while over the prescribed limit of alcohol.

Due to the offence being deemed so serious because of the very high reading of 173 in breath, Clarke was sentenced to 20 weeks in prison and disqualified from driving for three years and two months. He was also ordered to pay £85 court costs and £154 victim surcharge.

Arresting officer, PC Charlie Brown of the Roads Policing Team, said: “It was more by luck than judgement that Benjamin Clarke’s actions did not cause a serious collision. He not only put his own life at risk but those of innocent road users.

“We see the devastating effects drink and drug driving can have and therefore it is extremely disappointing that some people still choose to ignore our advice. Getting behind the wheel – almost five times over the limit – is not just selfish, but dangerous and reckless.

“Reducing the number of people killed or seriously injured on our roads remains the priority for Northamptonshire Police and our partners at the Northamptonshire Safer Roads Alliance, and I’m pleased the courts have dealt with the driver positively.”

Tragically in 2021, after being involved in a road collision, 29 people never returned home safely to their loved ones, and 280 required urgent medical assistance for serious and life-changing injuries.

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