Widnes man so drunk he 'couldn't even speak' following car crash

Neil Bason, 37, has been banned from driving for two years. Credit: Liverpool Echo

A motorist who caused a head-on smash after driving the wrong way around a roundabout was so drunk that he was unable to speak.

Neil Bason, 37, of Norfolk Place in Widnes, crashed his car after downing a pint and leaving the Blue Anchor pub in Southport on 10 December following the England versus France football match.

The prosecution said the former carer was so drunk he "couldn't even speak", he then walked away from the scene after and claimed an imaginary friend had been the driver.

He pleaded guilty to dangerous driving and drink driving. He was given a 12-month sentenced, suspended for two years, a rehabilitation activity requirement of up to 30 days, a 120-day alcohol abstinence requirement and a two-year driving ban.

Liverpool Crown Court heard that the victim Declan Preston was driving on Southport Road at around 10.30pm on 10 December 2022.

Paul Blasbery, prosecuting, described how he entered the junction with Scarisbrick New Road to be faced with the glare of the headlights of an oncoming Ford Fiesta which was travelling anti-clockwise on the roundabout.

He "slammed on his brakes" but was unable to avoid the collision. Mr Preston was left sat in his car "shaking" before getting out and asking Bason, the driver of the other vehicle, "what the hell he was doing" and adding: "You must be drunk."

A member of the public who had assisted the Mr Preston at the scene then spotted him at the nearby Esso patrol station, and the police attended the garage.

Bason told police that although his vehicle had been involved in the accident he had not been the driver.

He failed an initial breath test, and once in custody following his arrest was still more than twice the legal limit.

In a police interview, Bason said he had "four or five" pints of lager while the World Cup match.

Bason claimed that he had then asked an unnamed friend to drive him home to Widnes, and that he had been the front seat passenger at the time of the crash.

Liverpool Crown Court heard how Bason had crashed his car following the World Cup quarter-final match. Credit: PA Images

He has two previous convictions for five offences, including being banned from the roads by magistrates only four days after the incident for a separate drink driving charge dating back to June 2022.

Andrew McInnes, defending, told the court: "It is a serious incident, and the defendant acknowledges that things could have been far more serious given the state he was in and the manoeuvre undertaken.

"The defendant was in a particularly difficult period, having been out of trouble for many years and employed in the care system. His mother became seriously ill and he gave up his job to assist her.

"He found it very difficult and he began to drink to excess and use cocaine. Things reached a head in December. He wasn't with a friend. That was a lie.

"He took the decision to drive. He is lucky that no one was seriously injured, particularly the driver of the other vehicle.

"It seems to have been something of a watershed for him. He has stopped drinking and has abstained from drugs for a period of nine months since the incident.

"His mental health has improved as a consequence, and he has found employment in an amusement arcade in Southport. He has applied for another job in the care sector.

"Sadly, his mother passed away in June this year. Perhaps this is one of those cases where the fear of custody hanging over him is enough to avoid repeat offending."

Sentencing, Judge Garrett Byrne said: "It is only through good luck that somebody was not seriously injured or killed.

"At the time, I accept that you were under a lot of stress given your personal circumstances and I accept that you have now made efforts to address your alcohol problem."