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Van was flipped by drink driver

By Mid Devon Gazette  |  Posted: September 04, 2012

A BUILDER told a court he was disgusted with himself for crashing his van on a rural road after an afternoon drinking session.

Ryan Stephens, 30, from Lapwing Close, Cullompton, drank around five pints at a pub in the town before flipping his red Peugeot onto its side at Newte Hill, near Tiverton, shortly before 5pm on August 11, Exeter Magistrates' Court heard last week.

Stephens pleaded guilty to being twice the drink drive limit.

Karen Ball, prosecuting, told the court a police officer was on his way to Tiverton when he saw three men surrounding the van and was approached by Stephens, who said: "I'm sorry, arrest me, I was drink driving and I am so against drink driving and I can't believe what I have done."

Mrs Ball said: "He was interviewed by police and fully admitted he was driving while over the limit.

"He finished work at midday and he went for a drink. He had five or six pints and he drove the van to Tiverton to see friends. He flipped over at the top of the hill. "He was not thinking when he drove and he said it was a moment of absolute stupidity."

Stephens, who was wearing a grey suit and appeared upset in the court room, apologised and told magistrates: "I am so glad I didn't hurt anybody else."

He had 96 micrograms of alcohol in 100 ml of breath.

Peter Woodley, defending, said: "He made a full admission to police. To his credit, he has shown genuine remorse for his behaviour and he voiced disgust with what he has done.

"He is a self-employed builder and needs the van for work. A sprocket came out and he lost control because of that.

"He realises it's him that got himself in this pickle and it's him that's got to get himself out.

"He will not make a habit of this and there is no evidence to suggest he will. He has no problem with drink or drugs and he has just been very stupid. He is the first one to identify what he needs to do to get himself out of this."

Stephens was disqualified from driving for two years, a term which could be reduced with the successful completion of a drink drivers' rehabilitation course. He has also been sentenced to 80 hours' unpaid work.

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