Drink driver caused four-hour power cut after electric pole crash

William Haswell, leaving South Tyneside Magistrates Court
William Haswell, leaving South Tyneside Magistrates Court
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A DRUNK driver caused a four-hour blackout after crashing his father’s car into an electricity pole.

William Haswell was almost three times over the limit when he took the £11,000 Jaguar to get some breakfast from the McDonald’s drive-through in Boldon Colliery.

But the 19-year-old didn’t make it to the fast food restaurant after spinning the car around and skidding into the electricity pole on nearby Hedworth Lane, just yards from his home in Fawley Close, Boldon Colliery.

The damage to the pole meant 39 homes in the area were without power for four hours, between 6.45am and 10.45am on November 10 last year.

Emergency services were scrambled to the scene of the smash and Haswell was arrested after a breath test showed he had 98mg of alcohol in 100ml of breath - the legal limit being 35mg.

Haswell pleaded guilty to taking a vehicle without consent and causing an accident, drink driving and driving without insurance, when he appeared at South Tyneside Magistrates Court.

Paul Anderson, prosecuting, said: “The car belongs to his father who works in Spain for the majority of the year and he left the defendant strict instructions not to use it

“At 6.40am on the day in question the police received a report of an accident on Hedworth Lane.

“The defendant had lost control of the car which had spun out of control and hit an electricity pole causing the lines to come down.”

When police got to the crash, Haswell told them it was his fault and that he had been on his way to McDonald’s for some breakfast.

In his police interview he said he saw some flashing lights behind him, panicked, and put the brakes on.

Mr Anderson added: “He said he had been in Newcastle drinking until 3am and had been home for a couple of hours before getting in the car.

“There was loss of power to 39 homes for four hours and it cost an estimated £1,500 to repair the damage.”

The court heard the car cost £11,000 and was not written off.

Laura Johnson, defending, said: “This was a very costly McDonald’s breakfast and one, I can only assume, he didn’t get to eat.

“He made a stupid decision to drive his father’s car after only a couple of hours of sleep following a night out. He is deeply ashamed of himself and embarrassed.”

Magistrates gave Haswell a 12-month community order with 200 hours of unpaid work and banned him from driving for two years.

He was also ordered to pay a £60 victim surcharge.

Chairman of the bench Ian Alexander said: “Not only was there extensive damage to your father’s car, you were over the limit and crash caused considerable damage to the electricity supply.

“For four hours, 39 houses were without power, during one of the busiest times of the day, which no doubt caused people great inconvenience.”

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