Driver caused £13k damage to home after crashing into pole

King's Lynn magistrates court/crown court Picture: Chris Bishop

Richard Slater's van hit a telegraph pole causing £13,000 of damage to a nearby property, King's Lynn Magistrates has heard. - Credit: Archant

A van driver hit a telegraph pole causing £13,000 of damage to a nearby property, a court has heard.

The vehicle “barrel rolled” more than 40 metres after the collision in Docking which uprooted the telegraph pole, pulling down the gable end of a bungalow as a result.

Driver Richard Slater, who had been drinking, had no recollection of the incident or of a major emergency services response including the air ambulance, two road ambulances, a fire and rescue appliance and three police crews.

King’s Lynn Magistrates’ Court heard on Thursday (Mar 11) that a vulnerable person had to be temporarily rehomed and three households lost their power supply.

Slater, of The Mews, Fakenham, pleaded guilty to driving while unfit through drink.

Collette Harper, prosecuting, said the Fiat Doblo left a straight stretch of Fakenham Road in a 30mph speed limit at about 6.30pm on October 23, 2020.

“It was driven on to the verge, colliding head on with a wooden telegraph pole. The van barrel rolled along the side of the road, landing on its wheels 42 metres from the telegraph pole.”

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Residents gave first aid to Slater who was found lying on the ground next to the driver’s door.

He suffered a “minor” brain haemorrhage and broken ribs and vertebrae.

In hospital, the 38-year-old heating engineer initially agreed to give a blood sample for analysis, then declined.

Miss Harper added: “There was no reason for that vehicle to leave that road without there being a driver error. His driving fell far below the standard expected of a competent driver.”

The court was told that Slater had a conviction for driving with excess alcohol in 2004.

Simon Nicholls, mitigating, said: “Richard has no idea of what happened – of the van leaving the road, the emergency services being present or what happened in hospital.

“He’d had a drink earlier in the evening and therefore pleads guilty to driving while unfit.

“There was an accident. He doesn’t know why it occurred. It doesn’t mean he was the cause of the accident. There were no witnesses.”

Mr Nicholls said the defendant had been “quite poorly” since the incident and had been unable to work.

Slater was disqualified from driving for 17 months, which can be cut with the completion of a drink-driver rehabilitation course.

He was also fined £896 and ordered to pay £195 in costs and surcharge.

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