Sunderland Nissan worker crashed into man while drink-driving home from his long-service presentation

Drink-driver Mark Wood.
Drink-driver Mark Wood.

A Sunderland Nissan worker smashed his car into a roadside mechanic when he got behind the wheel after a day of drinking to celebrate 25 years service with the firm.

Mark Wood, who had downed a pint, a full bottle of red wine and Aftershock shots at a social club near the car manufacturing plant in Sunderland, crashed his Nissan Note into Steven Hoggins, who was filling a broken down vehicle with petrol in Washington on February 3.

Newcastle Crown Court heard the garage employee was flung into the air, out of his workboots and landed, unconscious, further along the carriageway.

He suffered a double fracture to his left hip, ligament damage to his right knee, cuts, bruises and memory loss.

Married dad Wood, who has never been in trouble before, was almost three times the drink-drive limit and was only aware that he had "hit something" but was unsure of exactly what happened.

Wood, 52, who is "genuinely horrified" by what he did, pleaded guilty to causing serious injury by dangerous driving and driving with excess alcohol.

Miss recorder Margia Mostafa sentenced him to 12 months behind bars, with a three-and-a-half year driving ban and extended test requirement.

The judge told him: "You, ironically, attended a drinks party with Nissan to celebrate the fact you had been employed by them for 25 years.

"You consumed, I am told, a pint of alcohol at 11.30am, a bottle of red wine and some Aftershock spirits.

"You were well over over the drink drive limit but you decided to get into your vehicle and instead of leaving it at the social club where you had been celebrating, which would have been the sensible thing to do, you decided to drive to the Galleries in Washington."

The court heard the vehicle Mr Hoggins was tending to had hazard lights on.

Wood, who the judge said was "completely incapable of driving". had been seen driving eratically and swerving between lanes before the impact.

The judge told him: "You didn't know what you had struck, you were so incapacitated by alcohol that you didn't know you had struck another person."

Mr Hoggins said in a victim impact statement Wood "could have easily killed me or someone else".

The court heard despite his painful injuries, which resulted in Mr Hoggins having nine weeks of work and continuing hospital treatment, he bears Wood no malice.

Mr Hoggins said in his statement: "I only hope he learns an important lesson from this.

"This collision could have been a great deal worse and impacted on my family, and his, a lot more."

Gavin Doig, defending said Wood, of Valley Drive, Dunston, Gateshead, has led a hard-working, blameless life and produced references to his ordinarily positive character.

Mr Doig said; "He should never have been in that car.

"The defendant was celebrating having worked for 25 years at Nissan.

"He had an unblemished driving record and excellent work record. He has thrown that away.

"He has thrown his good name away by behaving in such a foolish way.

"It is a tradition at Nissan that when someone reaches that level of service, a small celebration is held.

"It is a convivial occasion.

"He either should not have taken alcohol or left his car.

"He is not seeking to blame Nissan for this.

"It is ironic, on the day his hard work and commitment to the company is celebrated, he behaves in such a foolish way, spectacularly out of character for him."

A Nissan spokesman said: “We are taking this incident very seriously and will be taking appropriate action.”