Wigan drink-drive suspect injured in back of police van was unable to provide breath sample

Police had to carry the man into the station
Police had to carry the man into the station

A Wigan man arrested on suspicion of drink-driving claimed he was was unable to provide a breath sample after injuring himself in the back of a police van.

Derek Hughes had been stopped in the Standish area and a roadside breath test proved positive, but he refused to provide another sample of either breath or blood once at the police station, meaning he could not be convicted of drink-driving.

Appearing before Wigan magistrates, the 60-year-old, of Oxford Street, Leigh, admitted to failing to provide a specimen for analysis.

The court heard that when Hughes was stopped and spoken to late at night in Standish, he denied having had a drink, but officers noted he smelled of liquor.

He was breathalysed at the scene, providing a reading of 59mgs in 100ml of breath. The legal limit is 35mgs.

He was arrested and put in the back of a police van to be taken to the station. On arrival, he refused to get out, dropping to the floor and saying he was in pain. His stubbornness resulted in officers having to carry him into the station instead.

He was said to be argumentative and demanding to go to hospital. He then refused to provide both breath and blood tests.

A health professional was summoned to check Hughes pain complaints, but he refused to be examined and so was declared fit to be detained.

Representing himself, Hughes said that at no point did he refuse to co-operate with police, adding: “They put me in the van, and they must have sped up or gone over a speed bump, because I smashed my head into the roof and fell to the floor.

The policeman shouted ‘sorry’ but then it happened again. I asked them to stop, and told them I hurt my back. They dragged me into the cells.”

Hughes confirmed he had asked to be taken to hospital, saying, “I was in absolute agony” but added, “I never said, at anytime, that I wouldn’t do anything”.

It was reported he had lost his job as a van driver as a result of the crime.

Magistrates hit Hughes with a 17-month road ban. He must also pay £295 in costs and fines.