Driver found wandering, drunk and bloodied after crashing van in Sunderland

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A HUNGRY contractor from Surrey was found wandering around lost and drunk and covered in blood after he crashed his work’s van after a night out in Sunderland.

Daniel Woodward, 26, was in the North East in September to help set up the course for the Great North Run when, after a late finish, he went in search of food and refreshments, Sunderland magistrates heard.

When he found nowhere was open near the Premier Inn where he was staying, in Wessington Way, he drove his employer’s Ford Transit van across the bridge and into the city centre. On the way back he crashed.

Prosecutor Lee Poppett said: “Police officers on duty at shortly before 4am were informed that a vehicle in Washington Road, Southwick, had collided with a bollard in the middle of the carriageway.

“An officer approached the vehicle and took the key out of the ignition. The airbags were deployed and they were covered in blood.

“A short time later they attended an address in East Lodge, to reports of a male knocking on windows.

“Mr Woodward was found with his trousers covered in grass stains and with blood on his face. He told police he was from Surrey and had been on a night out in Sunderland and got lost.

“A porter at the Premier Inn confirmed Mr Woodward had been staying there. CCTV footage showed his vehicle leaving the Premier Inn and driving down the road.”

When Woodward was arrested at 5am, he told them he had not driven the vehicle, however, the blood on the airbag was found to be a DNA match to him.

At 5.45am, some two hours after the collision, he gave a breath sample of 50mg of alcohol per 100ml of breath – the legal limit being 35mg.

Woodward, of Brierwood Road, Epsom, Surrey, admitted drink-driving.

Neil Hodgson, defending, said: “He was an event co-ordinator who was here for the Great North Run. He sets up the bollards and marks out the course.

“He had colleagues up from London and everywhere. When they finished work it was 2am and everywhere was closed, hence him driving over the bridge and into the city centre He then made the foolish decision to drive back after food and drink.

“The airbag exploded in his face. He is slightly concussed and he’s wandering around knocking on doors, not knowing where he is.”

Mr Hodgson said the consequences for Woodward had been far-reaching, having been suspended from his job and being unable to claim benefits, he is relying on his wife, whom he married two weeks after the incident.

“His wife is certainly not very happy, but the wedding was already organised” he added.

Woodward was banned from driving for a year and fined £110, with £85 costs and £20 victim surcharge.