A driver who was given a breath test after a near-miss collision had an alcohol reading that was “off the scale”.
Constantin Chirica was at the wheel of his Volkswagen Golf in Aylesford when another motorist had to slam on her brakes to avoid hitting him.
The other driver asked the 58-year-old to move his car backwards after the near-miss and that’s when she noticed he was so inebriated he was slurring his words. When she looked in his vehicle she noticed beer cans and half a bottle of gin inside.
Police were called and when officers found him slumped in the driver’s seat, he was arrested on suspicion of drink-driving.
He was given a breath test and gave a reading of 156 microgrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath, the legal limit is 35, which made him more than four times the legal limit. The reading was off the scale of magistrates’ sentencing guidelines.
Chirica, of Sandymount Avenue, Stanmore, Greater London, was later charged with drink-driving and pleaded guilty to the offence when he appeared in court on December 8, last year.
A pre-sentencing report was ordered and he returned to Maidstone Magistrates’ Court on February 5, to hear his fate.
The court heard the near-miss happened on November 21, last year, in Rochester Road. The woman’s vehicle suffered minor scratches.
Richard Lamb, prosecuting, said: “The witness almost crashed into him in Rochester Road, she had to slam her breaks on to avoid him and narrowly missed the bushes and another car.
“She told him to move the car backwards and it was then she noticed he was slurring his words and then saw beers and half a bottle of gin in the car.
“She thought he’d drunk too much as was slumped over in his seat.
“The police said the same thing when they got there, he made no comment in interview, but the reading was 156, extremely high.”
The court heard Chirica, despite making no comment to police, had accepted he was the driver of the vehicle. He had driven from London to Maidstone on the day in question.
He had never been in trouble nor before the courts before but at the time he committed the offence, his wife was gravely ill in hospital with sepsis and had spent three months being treated.
The bench were also told Chirica, a ground worker, didn’t have much recollection of the events that day and had turned to alcohol as a coping mechanism.
Magistrates said Chirica’s reading was “off the scale of the sentencing guidelines” which only went up to a reading of 150 microgramms of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath.
They told him he had been a danger to others on the road and the reading certainly passed the custody threshold.
Chirica was jailed for 20 weeks for the offence but the term was suspended for 18 months.
He was also told he will have to wear an alcohol abstinence monitoring tag for 120 days and attend eight rehabilitation sessions with probation.
He was also banned from driving for 36 months and ordered to pay a victim surcharge of £154, as well as £85 court costs.
If Chirica completes a drink-driving course, his ban will be reduced by a quarter.