Sunderland drink-driver's 'life saved' by twist of fate after crash on New Year's Day

A drink-driver’s life was saved by a twist of fate after a crash into railings while twice the limit revealed he had a potentially deadly illness.

Tuesday, 18th August 2020, 1:20 pm

William Ferry, 53, was taken to hospital after the smash in Leechmere Road, Sunderland, on New Year’s Day, a court heard.

Doctors diagnosed life-threatening sepsis and immediately operated to remove his lower left leg.

Ferry, of Toward Road, Hendon, Sunderland, appeared before South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court in a wheelchair, his leg heavily bandaged at the knee.

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South Tyneside Magistrates' Court

Magistrates were told he had blacked out at the wheel due to the then-undiagnosed condition, not because of booze.

His defence solicitor, Gerry Armstrong, said: “This is an unusual case where fate sometimes acts in unusual ways.

“Mr Ferry accepts that in the period before he made the silly decision to drive his vehicle to go to the shop, he’d been drinking.

“The next thing he remembers is waking up in an ambulance and being taken to a police station. It was then that he was taken to hospital.

“While there, doctors decided to do tests, and this is where fate came to his aid.

“They immediately found that he had sepsis and that that was why he had blacked out.”

Mr Armstrong said his client would have lost his life if it weren’t for the sepsis diagnosis.

Prosecutor Jonathan Hanratty earlier told the court a witness to the accident saw Ferry’s 2007-plate Peugeot 207 veer without reason off the road.

Mr Hanratty added: “At 2.18pm police attend a report of a road traffic accident.

“They are met by paramedics who tell them the driver of the car is in the rear of the ambulance.

“A witness said a car had collided with railings for no apparent reason.

“He said that the driver had said he may have blacked out, but they could smell alcohol.”Mr Hanratty said a roadside breath test showed 84mcgs of alcohol in 100mls of breath. The legal limit is 35mcgs.

Jobless Ferry pleaded guilty to drink-driving, driving without insurance and without a licence.

Although he can physically no longer drive, Ferry was banned from the roads for 22 months and must pay a £200 fine, £85 court costs and a £32 victim surcharge.

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