Danger driver drove 'erratically' while drunken female passenger tried to get out of moving vehicle

A danger driver travelled "erratically" on the road and struggled to keep his drunk passenger in the car before she stumbled out of the moving vehicle and suffered a fractured skull.

Tuesday, 26th October 2021, 5:47 pm

Driver Justin Short had tried to keep the woman, who had drank three bottles of wine, safely inside the Mini and stop her from sounding the car's horn during a 19-mile journey, which ended with her suffering serious injuries.

Newcastle Crown Court Short had picked up the woman, who was his partner, in Stanley, in August 2019 and she was "heavily intoxicated".

During the journey, she "stated she wanted to get out of the vehicle" and the 49-year-old driver "struggled" to keep her inside.

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Justin Short.

The court heard the woman left the car at Wallsend, in North Tyneside, and suffered serious injuries, including a fractured skull.

Short, of Benson Street, Chester-le-Street, admitted dangerous driving on the basis he drove "erratically" to stop the woman getting out, but accepts he should have stopped the car.

Judge Paul Sloan QC told him: "She was drunk.

"As you were driving along she decided she wanted to get out of the vehicle.

"You didn't wish her to eject given her state of intoxication but instead of stopping, as you accept you should have done, you kept driving while at the same time struggling with the complainant and made efforts to prevent her leaving the car and prevent her reaching across and sounding the car horn."

The court heard Short was seen "swerving all over the road" during the journey and the passenger door had swung open once.

He continued to drive "very fast" and "over the speed limit" before the passenger door opened again and the woman stumbled out onto the road.

Judge Sloan added: "As a result of her actions, for which you do not bear responsibility, she was injured."

The judge told Short it "ought to have been obvious that you should have stopped at the outset" and his continued driving caused a "high risk of serious injury" to others.

The court heard Short had a troubled childhood and has mental health difficulties.

He is now in a new relationship.

Judge Sloan sentenced him to 11 months imprisonment, suspended for two years, with a three-month night time curfew and a ten year restraining order.

David Lamb, defending, said the victim was "the author of her own misfortune" to a large extent.

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