Alcoholic refused breath test

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AN alcoholic has been given a community sentence for refusing a blood test after causing a three-car pile-up near Alnwick.

John McKewon refused to let medics at Ashington’s Wansbeck General Hospital test him to determine whether he was drunk when his car ended up on the wrong side of the road between Longhoughton and Alnwick on June 12 last year.

The 45-year-old, of Cornhill Estate, Alnwick, lost control of his car and bounced off the verge and into the path of oncoming traffic, magistrates at Bedlington heard.

Narrowly avoiding a car which managed to swerve out of his path, McKewon struck the car following it, pushing it into a car behind.

An air ambulance medic who was called to the scene found McKewon, who smelled of alcohol, still in the vehicle and he was taken to Wansbeck General Hospital, where a medical examiner from Northumbria Police was later called to collect a specimen of blood from him.

The father-of-two, who lost his job after drinking at work, said he had been poked and prodded enough, when treated for his injuries which included a burn to his neck, five broken ribs and a broken wrist.

He later told police that he had little memory of what had happened as he was drifting in and out of consciousness.

He pleaded guilty to failing to provide a specimen for analysis.

Earlier last year McKewon, whose car was written off following the crash, was given 10 penalty points for being in charge of a vehicle with excess alcohol, an offence he committed while on bail.

Probation officer Tony Flynn delivered an oral pre-sentence report to magistrates, saying McKewon had turned to drink following the death of his father three years ago.

He said he had sought help from his doctor and had now reduced his alcohol intake to half a bottle of vodka per week.

Mr Flynn added: “Fortunately the other drivers were uninjured as a result of his offence.”

Magistrates sentenced him to a six-month community order with supervision and ordered him to take part in a drink impaired drivers’ programme. He was also banned from driving for two years and ordered to pay £50 costs.