Driver on drugs when he crashed car could have killed passers-by
INSOMNIAC Adam Coll has been told it was 'purely by chance' that he did not kill anyone in a drug-induced crash.
The 31-year-old knocked over two traffic lights and ploughed into a lamppost while under the influence of diazepam and ecstasy.
Coll had taken the diazepam as a substitute for his usual insomnia medication.
Nobody was injured in the crash in Congleton Road, Butt Lane, in July, although Coll's Seat car was extensively damaged.
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Coll, of Hawthorne Gardens, Talke, avoided an immediate prison sentence at Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court yesterday, after admitting dangerous driving and driving while unfit through drugs.
Recorder Simon Drew handed him a six-month sentence, suspended for 18 months.
The court heard that the crash happened at the junction of Congleton Road and Cedar Avenue on the afternoon of July 15.
Prosecutor David Bennett said: "The defendant's car was coming towards the junction on the wrong side of the road.
"The car mounted the central island, and then hit a lamppost, where it came to rest.
"A witness said that if there had been anyone on the pavement they would have been killed.
"A police officer attended the incident, and saw a Seat on the pavement, facing generally towards Talke.
"It had extensive damage at the front. Two traffic lights had been knocked down."
After being arrested Coll provided a negative breath test for alcohol.
But after he fell asleep while being taken to a police station, a blood test was carried out. This found traces of diazepam and ecstasy.
Anis Ali, mitigating, told the court that this was the first time his client had been convicted of an offence.
He said: "He has a long history of insomnia, and has been prescribed medication.
"On this occasion he had not been able to take his medication, and as an alternative remedy he had taken some diazepam.
"He had taken ecstasy for recreational purposes, having attended a party.
"It is right to say that he was devastated by this experience, both in terms of the incident itself, and the embarrassment of coming before the court."
Mr Ali said the defendant had many positive attributes and had a good work history.
He told the court that Coll had the support of his family, including his father, whose car Coll had been driving.
In addition to the suspended sentence, Recorder Drew ordered Coll to complete 150 hours unpaid work, and pay £380 towards prosecution costs.
Coll was also disqualified from driving for three years and will have to take an extended test to get his licence back.
Recorder Drew told Coll: "There is absolutely no doubt that it was purely by chance that you did not kill one or more innocent people who were going about their daily business.
"You took the decision to get behind the wheel of that car. You took the decision to drive. You must have known you were under the influence of drugs at the time."