United Kingdom

Drink driver, 35, who was three times limit when he flipped his Peugeot motorhome avoids jail

A businessman who drove his two tonne motorhome through the morning rush hour traffic whilst almost three times the alcohol limit has been freed by a judicial officer who said he had escaped jail - by the 'width of a cigarette paper.'

Grant Wagster, 35, failed a breathalyser test after he lost control of his Peugeot Boxer 330 motorhome on a motorway and flipped it over whilst returning home from an alcohol fuelled seaside staycation holiday.

During the crash the motorhome collided with a BMW before overturning and coming to rest between lane two and lane three of the M60 near Manchester. 

The stretch of carriageway remained closed for two hours with the crash causing tailbacks stretching five miles.

Inquiries revealed married Wagster, from Macclesfield, Cheshire who runs a tree surgery company had two previous drink driving convictions.

At Manchester magistrates court he faced up to six months in prison after he admitted his third offence of driving under the influence.

However he was freed by a JP who said Grant had narrowly avoided jail time by the 'width of a cigarette paper'. 

Grant lost control of his Peugeot Boxer 330 motorhome on a motorway and flipped it over whilst returning home from a seaside holiday.

Grant narrowly avoided jail time for his third conviction for drink driving. He was given a 12 month community order and will be subject to an alcohol abstinence programme for 120 days.

Instead, he was given a 12 month community order and will be subject of an alcohol abstinence monitoring programme for 120 days.

He was also ordered to complete 150 hours unpaid work and was disqualified from driving for 28 months.

Sentencing the magistrate known only as Mr Fry told Wagster: 'You lost control of your motorhome as it toppled over and you could have killed someone.

'This is a very serious matter, you were nearly three times over the legal limit and this was an exceptionally high reading. You have come within a cigarette paper width of going to prison today.'

The incident occurred at 7.30am on July 25 this year when Wagster who had been holidaying with a friend in Morecambe was travelling between Junction 14 and 13 of the orbital motorway near Worsley.

The upturned motorhome between lane two and lane three of the M60 near Manchester causing tailbacks stretching five miles

Grant Wagster (pictured with a different motorhome) who drove his two tonne motorhome through rush hour traffic whilst almost three times the alcohol limit

Prosecutor Miss Tess Kenyon said: 'The defendant was driving a Peugeot motorhome when he lost control of the vehicle and collided with a BMW. 

His own vehicle flipped onto its side and came to rest between lane two and lane three with live passing traffic.

'A PC attended the scene and the defendant co-operated. He accepted he had drunk too much and should not have driven the vehicle.'

Tests revealed Wagster had 104 microgrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath. The legal limit is 35mg. 

Wagster, who had been holidaying with a friend in Morecambe was nearly three times over the limit when he crashed on the M60 

In 1999 he was banned from the roads for three years for drink driving and he was given a further three year disqualification in 2009 for a second excess alcohol offence.

In mitigation defence lawyer Isobel Thomas said: 'He takes full responsibility for his actions. 

He says he had been drinking alcohol the night before with a friend into the early hours of the morning. After falling asleep he woke up to drive home.

'When he was in his motorhome, he tried to change lanes and his vehicle toppled over. 

'He said he felt okay to drive that morning. If he knew he was over the limit, he would not have driven. He says it was a stupid thing to do.. He says if he was aware he was over the limit at the time, he would not have driven. 

'He accepts the consequences could have been much worse than they are.'

She added: 'This defendant has run a successful tree surgery business for several years and is well respected in the community. 

'He is very busy and his diary is full until the end of the year going into next year. He can get to the base of his work by bicycle and train.

'He has been a married man for 12 years. He had a difficult time over the last few years with the death of his mother three years ago, which had a considerable impact on his life. 

'He found her dead when he went around to pick up his equipment one morning. He also suffered a brain injury in March 2020 and spent time in a coma. He made a full recovery and was able to return to work as a tree surgeon.

'In past times, he accepts he has had some difficulties with alcohol but now he only drinks occasionally.'

Wagster was also ordered to pay £170 in costs and surcharges.

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