Devon

Drink-driver Nigel Stone who crashed near Barnstaple jailed

A motorist nearly twice the drink-drive limit who narrowly missed colliding with a police car has been jailed.

Nigel Stone, 34, of Hugh Squier Avenue, South Molton, Devon, admitted drinking and driving and dangerous driving.

The court heard he missed colliding with a patrol car, but swerved up a bank causing his car to flip over.

At Exeter Crown Court, he was jailed for eight months and banned from driving for three years. It was his third offence for drinking and driving.

Stone admitted to the court that he had drunk two large bottles of beer before driving along the North Devon Link Road between Barnstaple and South Molton on 26 October.

'Chilling' accounts

Travelling at more than 60mph (97km/h) he lost control of the car and narrowly missed colliding with a police vehicle head-on.

Stone was arrested and gave a breath test reading of 65 micrograms, almost twice the limit of 35.

Judge Phillip Wassall said: "It is quite chilling to see their [police officers] account of seeing you lose control and you missed their vehicle by a hair's breadth.

"If the police car had been in a different position on the road it would have been hit head-on at a combined speed of well over 100 miles per hour.

"The impact would have been catastrophic. The officers thought they were going to die."

Richard Crabb, for the defendant, said Stone had used alcohol to deal with a break-up.

Stone was previously convicted of drinking and driving in 1996, when he was almost double the limit, and in 2005 when he was just under three times the limit.

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