Drink driver caught by his own car

Wigan and Leigh Magistrates' Court
Wigan and Leigh Magistrates' Court

A drink-driver who ditched his car after a road smash was tracked down by police when his high-tech vehicle betrayed him.

Investigators were led straight to Gareth Lowe’s door after the intercom in his BMW disclosed his full name and address when a bobby inspected it following the collision.

Lowe ploughed his vehicle into the garden wall of a house as he swerved to avoid another car on Grange Road, Ashton, on July 6.

The 46-year-old of Hayfell Road, Hawkley Hall, told justices he panicked and ran away from the scene because his judgement was impaired by booze.

Wigan and Leigh Magistrates’ Court heard how Lowe had drunk at least five pints of lager after finishing work that day, and was driving towards Bryn in the evening when the collision happened.

Police called to the crash found the BMW had destroyed the garden wall, a lamppost had also been struck and was leaning at an angle, and of the driver there was no sign.

A constable inspected the abandoned car, and saw that the airbags had gone off.

But while the car was being searched, the vehicle’s intercom system activated, and a representative from BMW began speaking. The quick-thinking officer explained the situation and requested the driver’s details, who was then identified as Lowe.

On attending Lowe’s home, the constable noted that he matched earlier eyewitness descriptions of “a big lad with a bald head.”

He then identified himself to the officer and admitted he had been driving the car at the time of the incident. But Lowe’s co-operation seemingly ended there, after he began antagonising the constable, telling him: “Go on, then, breathalyse me, I’m not *****.”

Prosecutors told the court that Lowe’s body language changed and he became agitated.

The prosecution said: “His demeanour changed and he became aggressive and was raising his voice and becoming volatile.”

When asked to calm down by police, Lowe shouted: “No, you will have to sit me down,” and kept refusing to co-operate.

After being arrested and taken to the police station, he was breathalysed and was found to have 49 microgrammes of alcohol in 100ml of breath: above the legal limit of 35mgs.

Lowe, the managing director of an engineering company, told the court: “I swerved because a car was in the middle of the road, and I had to avoid it. I panicked.

“I’m going through other circumstances and the pressure got to me.”

He said he was “disgusted” by his behaviour, adding: “I’m normally quite a calm individual, but I had drunk five pints.”

Lowe was banned from driving for 30 months and was given a 12-month community order, with 80 hours’ unpaid work. He must also pay £170 in compensation.