@ Crime, News Nick Towle
Drunk driver mounted kerb and nearly hit pedestrians near York Station
Pedestrians in York city centre had the fright of their lives as a Mercedes Benz came drifting across the road and mounted a kerb near the railway station.
At the wheel of the Mercedes was banned driver Daniel James Bell, who was nearly three times the drink-drive limit and whose partner was in the passenger seat.
The Mercedes had been “meandering” through the city centre in “slow motion” in the early hours of the morning, before lurching violently towards the pavement beside The Principal hotel on Station Road, said prosecutor Eddison Flint.
He said the vehicle was “for a brief moment travelling at excessive speed compared to the flow of traffic”, which alerted a CCTV operator who notified police.
They were told the Mercedes was travelling down Fulford Road where an officer was waiting at a junction in a marked car.
“The officer pulled out behind the Mercedes and followed it,” said Mr Flint.
“She activated her blue lights and the defendant came to a stop.”
Bell, 29, of James Street, York, told her he didn’t have a driving licence and the officer also noticed the car reeked of booze.
After being asked to undergo a roadside breath test, Bell became aggressive and had to be handcuffed. He refused a breath test three times, even when other officers arrived at about 1am.
Bell was arrested and taken into custody where a drink-drive test revealed he was nearly three times the legal alcohol limit.
He became “increasingly aggressive and abusive” in custody and tried to headbutt a police constable but didn’t make contact.
On a curfew
He was charged with dangerous driving, having no insurance, drink-driving, assaulting a police officer and driving while disqualified.
He ultimately admitted all the offences, which occurred on 25 October, 2021, and appeared for sentence yesterday (Friday).
Mr Flint said that Bell had 11 previous convictions for 24 offences including drink-driving, acquisitive crime and breaching court orders.
He said that just 15 days before the offences in York, Bell received a three-year motoring ban for drug-driving. He had been on an electronically monitored curfew for the past six months.
Defence barrister Emily Hassell said Bell had a serious drink problem but was getting help for that through rehabilitation charities.
She said he realised he could have caused “serious harm to a number of people” on the night in question and that he was remorseful.
Bell, formerly of Sherburn-in-Elmet, was now living in supported accommodation in York.
Judge Sean Morris, the Recorder of York, told Bell: “I have seen the (CCTV) footage (of the) car slowly meandering through York city centre.
“It mounts a kerb – there were some people around at the time. You could have no grumbles at being locked up for this offence.
“What’s saved you from being locked up is coming clean with the court.”
He said Bell was a “chronic alcoholic” with a bad driving record but he was now trying to address a “very difficult addiction” by “living a life of a self-enforced recluse in order to keep yourself away from alcohol and bad influences”.
Mr Morris said that for this reason, and the fact that Bell had complied with his curfew, he could suspend the inevitable jail sentence and give him another chance.
Bell was given a 17-month suspended jail sentence and ordered to complete a six-month alcohol-treatment programme, along with 26 days’ rehabilitation activity.