Dangerous alcoholic driver is jailed after crashes
AN ALCOHOLIC who crashed into three other vehicles while drunk has been jailed for what a judge called an outrageous piece of driving.
Stephen Kearney, aged 40, took his partner's car without permission and drove at speed and sometimes on the wrong side of the road for three or four miles, a court heard.
Recorder Michael Hubbard jailed him for 15 months for a string of offences.
Kearney also threatened a man who tried to break up a brawl involving him in the street.
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The judge told Kearney: "It is difficult to imagine a more outrageous piece of driving. You put several lives in danger. You could easily have caused a fatality."
Kearney, of Taunton Avenue, Whitleigh, had earlier admitted aggravated vehicle taking, dangerous driving, drink-driving and driving without insurance on February 5.
He also pleaded guilty at a previous hearing to threatening behaviour on November 15 last year.
David Gittins, for the Crown Prosecution Service, said Kearney was drinking wine through the day at his partner's home in Whitleigh.
He added that he took her car keys and drove away in her VW Golf Cabriolet at about 4pm.
Mr Gittins said the Golf crashed into the back of a car waiting in traffic in Budshead Road. The motorist then saw Kearney drive past her at speed.
He added a second driver spotted the Cabriolet being driven erratically at speed on the Crownhill flyover. The court heard the motorist pulled over to avoid any accident.
Mr Gittins said Kearney then hit a Ford Fiesta in Fort Austin Avenue.
He added he finally crashed into the rear of a Ford Fiesta in Church Hill, Eggbuckland, before driving past on the wrong side of the road.
Mr Gittins said the Golf, which had run out of petrol, was left nearby and Kearney was arrested at his sister's house.
He was found to have 54 micrograms of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath. The legal limit is 35.
Kearney admitted in police interview he had been drunk at the time.
Mr Gittins said in another incident Kearney had threatened to "slice" a man who broke up a fight in Norwich Avenue, Whitleigh on November 15.
Nick Lewin, for Kearney, admitted he had an "appalling criminal record".
He added he had conquered heroin, but had substituted that habit with an addiction for alcohol.
Mr Lewin said that prison would be no punishment and would not tackle his underlying problems.
He said: "Upon his release from prison he will almost certainly return to one of those addictions" (heroin or alcohol).
Mr Lewin said his use of alcohol had resulted in a "lack of control".
He added he had attended Alcoholic Anonymous and worked with the prison's drug and alcohol team.
Recorder Hubbard told Kearney: "It is impossible for this court to do anything other than to sentence you immediately to prison."
He also banned Kearney from driving for three years and ordered that he take an extended test before his licence is returned.