Sunderland businessman banned over dangerous driving on Wessington Way

Dangerous driver Paul Higgins.
Dangerous driver Paul Higgins.

A drunk Sunderland businessman seen swerving his car violently on a dual carriageway has narrowly avoided jail.

Cleaning company owner Paul Higgins was also banned from the roads for two years, after the late-night incident of dangerous driving on July 31.

GV of the approach to the A19 roundabout taken from A1231, Sunderland Highway.

GV of the approach to the A19 roundabout taken from A1231, Sunderland Highway.

When he was eventually caught, the 39-year-old also refused to blow into a breathalyser, Sunderland magistrates heard.

Prosecutor Lee Poppett said the incident occurred shortly before midnight, when two police officers on the A1231 in Washington spotted Higgins’ silver Toyota Avensis driving in front of them.

Mr Poppett said: “It was veering across the carriageway and the officer activated the dash cam. As it approached the A19 it narrowly avoided a collision with the side of a heavy goods vehicle which was on the junction.

“The driver did not slow down, but proceeded through a red light.”

The court heard the officers activated the blue lights and sirens, but the Avensis failed to stop.

The officers keen to avoid a dangerous pursuit, turned off the sirens and lights and followed the car as they radioed for back-up.

It finally came to a hal when a second police vehicle arrived .

Mr Poppett said: “Mr Higgins was very clearly drunk.

“His eyes were glazed and his speech was slurred and he was cautioned for driving whilst unfit.”

When Higgins arrived at the police station he failed to blow into the breathalyser, telling officers: “You are getting nowt.”

Higgins, of Bathgate Avenue, Town End Farm, pleaded guilty to dangerous driving and failing to provide a specimen of breath for analysis.

Jason Smith, defending, said: “He accepts that his driving was unacceptable.”

Higgins was sentenced to 16 weeks’ imprisonment, suspended for 18 months.

He was told to complete 20 days’ rehabilitation activity requirement and the drink-impaired drivers’ course. He was banned from driving for two years and was told to pay £115 in costs and and £85 surcharge.