HGV driver caught swerving across motorway while three times over the drink limit

  • Watch the moment police caught up with a drink driver swerving across the M5

A truck driver has been jailed after being caught drink driving on the M5 in Somerset.

Police were alerted to an HGV swerving between the hard shoulder and lane one by a member of the public on the afternoon of Monday 5 February.

Special Constables Danny Hopkins and Kalvin Mackenzie managed to locate the vehicle and witnessed the driver swerve and break hard to avoid a car joining at junction 22 of the motorway.

The pair pulled the lorry over and found the man behind the wheel, Ihar Shynkevich, was more than three times over the limit, following a roadside breath test.

The 35-year-old was arrested at Sedgemoor service station and he was subsequently charged with driving a motor vehicle while over the alcohol limit.

Ihar Shynkevich, centre, seconds after failing a roadside breath test that showed he was more than three times over the limit. Credit: Avon and Somerset Police

He appeared at Taunton Magistrates Court the next day and was sentenced to 19 weeks imprisonment, in addition to being disqualified from driving for 1,163 days.

The lorry that Shynkevich, of no fixed address, was driving was found to have been carrying cargo weighing more than 21 tonnes.

Roads Policing Acting Inspector Stephen Whatley said: “Considering the size of Shynkevich’s vehicle, the weight of the load he was carrying and the manner of his driving on a busy stretch of carriageway, there could easily have been a major collision on the M5 that afternoon.

“Fortunately, this was avoided and a dangerous driver has now been taken off the roads thanks to a report from a member of the public.

“Given the seriousness of the circumstances, a custodial sentence is appropriate and welcomed.”

255 people have been arrested for drink driving, while 153 have been arrested for drug driving by Avon and Somerset Police since the new year. By comparison, 324 drivers were arrested in December during the force's annual winter operation targeting drink and drug drivers.

Chief Inspector Rob Cheeseman, head of Roads Policing, said: "The arrest data for the first eight weeks of 2024 shows that drink and drug driving remains a major problem on our roads, despite the well known risks."It should also dispel the misconception that enforcement activity only goes on during the Christmas period when media attention peaks. To be clear: those who make the reckless choice to drink or drug drive, day or night, should expect to get caught. "I would like to acknowledge the hard work of our teams - including the Special Constabulary, who volunteer their time - who are all working tirelessly to keep our roads safe."

Anybody can report a drink or drug driver to the police by calling 101 or by contacting the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.