Drunk Sunderland Nissan worker caused A19 smash after row at home

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A DRUNK Nissan worker deliberately swerved his car into the path of other vehicles in a bid to cause a road smash.

Andrew Lawton got behind the wheel after storming out of his Sunderland home following a row and drove on to the A19.

Newcastle Crown Court heard that the 37-year-old, who had downed cans of lager, deliberately drove towards or in front of other cars on the carriageway.

He finally came to a standstill after crashing into the central reservation and ending up in bushes at the roadside.

Prosecutor Kevin Wardlaw told the court: “It appeared to other motorists at times he was deliberately driving in front or towards other vehicles, intent on causing a collision.

“He was seen to change lanes violently, which caused him to crash into the barriers at the central reservation where the vehicle came to a halt. He lost control of the car after attempting to swerve into the path of a BMW travelling in the same direction to him on the dual carriageway.

“The driver managed to avoid collision by out-accelerating the defendant, causing the defendant to go off the carriageway and end up in bushes at the side of the road.”

The court heard that a test confirmed he was over the drink-drive limit.

Lawton, of Altrincham Tower, Sunderland, claimed he had been trying to kill himself by crashing the car but has since denied that was the case.

He pleaded guilty to dangerous driving.

Judge Roger Thorn QC told him: “Anyone who drives off in anger is a danger to the public, and drunken anger is making the situation many times worse.

“Attempting to harm yourself is no mitigation. You were willing to consider doing it, in your drunken and angry state, at the risk of causing injury, possibly serious injury, to others.”

The judge sentenced Lawton to eight months’ imprisonment, suspended for 18 months, with supervision, programme requirements and a 12-month driving ban.

The judge added: “Prison is not going to serve any particular advantage here for the public in these circumstances.

“A greater benefit to the public would be to ensure there is no risk of this occurring again.”

Tony Davis, defending, said Lawton is “deeply ashamed” of what he did and is trying to be reconciled with his family.