Man filmed drinking alcohol at the wheel moments before crashing on A183 in Sunderland

Dane Wood, 28, was caught on camera drinking from a gin glass at the wheel shortly before crashing in Sunderland. Credit: Northumbria Police

A man who was filmed drinking alcohol at the wheel moments before a crash has been handed a driving ban.

28-year-old Dane Wood was caught on camera sipping from a gin glass as he drove to collect a takeaway with his girlfriend.

Newcastle Crown Court heard how shortly after the video was taken, Wood sped through a red light and collided with a lamppost on the A183 in Sunderland.

People arriving on the scene thought Wood's girlfriend, a passenger in the car, was dead as she was slumped over the wheel. However, she had only suffered a broken ankle.

Graeme O'Sullivan, prosecuting, told the court how Wood had pretended he had not been driving the car at the time of the crash. He said: "He was stood by the car and said he had chanced upon the collision and he was not the driver, notwithstanding the fact it was his girlfriend. He repeated the same to the police."

The court heard that Wood, of Rosedale Crescent, Houghton-le-Spring, was over the drink-drive limit, however he was not charged with excess alcohol in time.

In court, he pleaded guilty to causing serious injury by dangerous driving.

He was sentenced to 15 months suspended for 18 months with 120 hours unpaid work, as well as a £600 fine and a two-year driving ban.

Wood's car was heavily damaged in the crash. Credit: Northumbria Police

In sentencing, Recorder James Wood QC said: "You drove at excessive and unlawful speed through a red light at what lay observers thought was 90 to 100mph. You did that with excessive alcohol in your blood but by reason of delay you were not prosecuted for that but I have regard to it."

"You crashed your car into a lamp-post, writing it off and leaving your girlfriend unconscious, with what were thought to be, at the time by those at the scene, catastrophic injuries. In fact, and very luckily for you and her, she only suffered a broken ankle.

"Your partner's mobile phone was examined and it appears at the time you were driving with a glass of alcohol in one hand, obviously not particularly concentrating on the road. You seem in a state of joyful exuberance with her."

Tony Davis, mitigating, said Wood had "genuine remorse" for the incident. He said Wood had not been greatly in excess of the legal limit and was not far in excess of the 60mph limit on that particular stretch of road.

However, he described it as a "brief error of judgement," and said that the defendant holding a glass at the wheel was "frankly not a good feature of this case."

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