Watch: Man swigs champagne while driving a van around North Yorkshire
An extraordinary video released by police shows a ‘very dangerous driver’ swigging champagne and rolling a cigarette while at the wheel of his van.
Mason James Cowgill has been jailed for dangerous driving after the footage came to light.
On 7 June last year, Cowgill, 27 of Gargrave, drove along the A65 near Ingleton for miles while he opened and drank from a bottle of Bollinger champagne.
Footage from the in-cab camera also shows him calling and texting his friends, often with both hands off the steering wheel.
At one point he rolls a hand-made cigarette and tucks it behind his ear, as his van hurtles along the road.
During the journey, Cowgill drove into the back of a car which was stationary in traffic, close to the junction of the A65 and the B6255/Tatterhorn Lane.
The car was damaged in the collision. Luckily no one was hurt. Cowgill and the car driver exchanged details, but Cowgill left the scene before officers arrived.
He continued with his journey while making more calls to friends at the wheel and almost caused another crash.
After Cowgill reported the collision to his boss who owned the van, the in-cab footage was reviewed. Cowgill was sacked and the footage was brought to the attention of the police.
‘Lucky no one was killed’
After pleading guilty to dangerous driving Cowgill was jailed for eight months. He was also disqualified from driving for 32 months and will have to take an extended retest.
PC Babs Parsons, said: “Cowgill is lucky he did not kill or seriously injure someone that day.
“The manner in which he drove demonstrated a clear danger to other road users and I’m amazed he did not cause any more collisions.
“This was not a momentary lapse in concentration, this is a sustained period in which Cowgill paid very little or no attention at all to the road and was clearly not in control of the van he was driving.
“I thank the owner of the van for bringing this footage to our attention as it has enabled us to take a very dangerous driver off the road.”