Drunk driver overturned car on Sunderland road after going out to get a curry following row with girlfriend

A businessman who has travelled back from Cambodia to get treatment for a liver condition flipped his car onto its side when drunk behind the wheel.

By Fiona Thompson
Friday, 19 July, 2019, 06:00

Carl Victor Stephenson left his Ettrick Grove home in Sunderland after a row with his then-girlfriend and decided to fetch an Indian takeaway.

South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court heard the 55-year-old was in his Rover 45 on Hylton Road at 12.15am on Friday, June 28, when it crashed.

South Tyneside Magistrates' Court heard Carl Victor Stephenson crashed his Rover 45 on Hylton Road.

Claire Irving, prosecuting, said: “He was seen to swerve to the nearside and then hit a railing, causing the vehicle to turn onto its side.

“The driver of the following vehicle stopped to make sure the person was ok and the defendant was seen trying to get out.

“It was clear he was under the influence of alcohol.”

A test found he had 99 micrograms of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath, with the legal limit 35 micrograms.

Stephenson, who the court heard was sentenced in 2005 for a similar offence and is receiving Universal Credit while in the UK, admitted driving with excess alcohol.

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Jason Smith, mitigating, explained Stephenson has restaurant business in Cambodia and is in the process of setting up an export and import firm in Vietnam, linked with Brexit.

He said he had returned to the UK “for a short period” to receive treatment for a liver condition and that any community order given as a punishment was unlikely to be completed, as he would be returning to Asia once he was well enough.

The court also heard any UK ban would not stop him from being allowed to drive abroad.

Mr Smith added: “He tells me he’s not necessarily just gone out to get an Indian takeaway but had argued with his partner and they needed a bit of space and has gone for a drive to get out of the way.

“He has had this accident and clearly was inebriated.”

The court heard Stephenson’s relationship had since ended and he had not drank since his arrest.

Magistrates gave him an eight week 9pm to 7am curfew and a driving disqualification for 25 months.

He was also ordered to pay £85 in court costs and a £85 victim surcharge.