Car wash worker stole and crashed vehicle while drink-driving near Carlisle

Donatas Petraitis, 39, was based at a Border Motor Group premises near Carlisle. Credit: Craig McGlasson News

A car wash employee who crashed a vehicle he stole from his place of work after drinking vodka given to him by a colleague has been spared immediate prison.

Donatas Petraitis, 39, was based at a Border Motor Group premises near Carlisle.

He carried out valeting and cleaning duties at a site where vehicles were stored, however no keys were readily available.

But on 6 March 2022, after knocking back alcohol, he acquired the key for a Hyundai Tucson which he stole from the compound.

Police were then called to the Brampton area where they found the Tucson crashed into a wall.

It had sustained around £16,000 of damage and was written off.

Petraitis was found in the driver’s seat, was unsteady on his feet after getting out of the vehicle and was slurring his words.

At Carlisle Magistrates’ Court, Petraitis, of Millriggs, Corby Hill, admitted charges of drink-driving having been almost three times the legal limit, no insurance, driving not in accordance with a licence and taking a vehicle without the owner’s consent.

A probation officer who interviewed Petraitis before he was sentenced said he had worked with a colleague, who was an alcoholic.

That colleague put vodka in a Lucozade bottle and offered his drink to him.

The probation officer said: "He took a couple of sips and then some more. He has no real recollection of taking the vehicle, where he was going or why, but he regrets it deeply.

"He expressed his remorse during the interview. He fully understands the potentially fatal consequences of drink-driving."

Petraitis lived with six children and a partner who suffered from a medical condition. He helped them when not at work.

He had since lost the valeting job but had gained cash-in-hand work. The court heard Petraitis had been given a "strong lecture" by his partner after the incident.

Magistrates suspended a six-week jail term for 12 months. Petraitis must complete rehabilitation work and a 120-day alcohol abstinence monitoring requirement by wearing a tag which flags up any consumption.

He was also banned from driving for 45 months by magistrates who called his record "unenviable" but concluded there was a realistic prospect of rehabilitation.