A DRINK-driver who was responsible for rush-hour chaos after he caused a five-car pile-up last month has been banned from the roads.
Afghan refugee Ahmad Reshad Rasooli, 23, ploughed into other cars on the A19 – pushing them into each other like dominoes during the morning rush-hour on Thursday, March 19.
When a dazed Rasooli got out of his Nissan Almera he had to be physically restrained by members of the public as he hurled racist abuse at them, Sunderland magistrates heard.
The accident caused hours of traffic chaos after the road was blocked and tailbacks at one point reached nearly an hour.
Lee Poppett, prosecuting, said a witness described seeing the green Almera weaving across both lanes before clipping the central reservation in thick fog and “very poor” driving conditions.
He followed it north until it approached the A19 junction with the A690 Durham Road, where the slow-moving traffic was “bumper to bumper”.
He said: “The Almera ploughed straight into a Peugeot. This pushed the Peugeot into the car in front and so forth. In all, five cars were involved.”
A second witness said Rasooli got out of the car and walked to the central reservation where he used the barrier to hold himself up.
He said that, when he spoke to him, he appeared drunk.
Mr Poppett said Rasooli became aggressive when the keys were taken from him as he walked back to his mangled car. He said: “Other people helped restraining him and he began to push them.
“He aimed a punch at one of the drivers, which missed.
“He had to be restrained and was shouting ‘I’ll kill you, let me see your face. I’ll come round and I’ll kill your family’.”
The driver of the Peugeot said he then shouted: “I’ll take you all on, you white pieces of trash.”
“He was detained by the drivers until police arrived,” Mr Poppett added.
After Rasooli, of Lort House, Shieldfield, Newcastle, was arrested he told police he had been to a family gathering in London, where he had drank vodka.
He had then set off at 1am for the long drive home to Newcastle, with his cousin as a passenger, and hit the rush hour as he drove north on the A19.
By the time a breath test was carried out at 8.30am – over seven hour after he left the capital – he had 55 microgrammes of alcohol in 100ml of breath – the legal limit being 35.
He admitted drink-driving.
A probation report said Rasooli, a pizza chef, came to the UK from Afghanistan in 2007 because of problems in his own country and has leave to reside permanently here.
Victoria Oliver, defending, said that while there were many aggravated factors, he only faced a charge of drink driving.
“It’s fair to say that he has never been in this predicament before,” she said. “He has a clean driving licence. He was in shock. He was going back to his vehicle. It was at that point that others decide he was going to drive away.
“There was no way he was going to drive his vehicle. It was still entangled in the vehicle in front. There was nowhere for him to go.”
She added: “It is fair to say that in his shocked state he has not acted in the best of ways. He has seen a threat and lashes out.”
Rasooli was sentenced to a six-month tagged curfew from 8am until noon seven days a week.
He was banned from driving for 16 months an told to pay £85 costs and a £60 surcharge.