Drink-driver told cops 'all I have to do is play the mental health card' after horrific smash left man with life-changing injuries

Drink-driver told cops 'all I have to do is play the mental health card' after horrific smash left man with life-changing injuries

Police body-cam footage has captured the shocking moment a brazen drink-driver who left another motorist severely injured told cops: "All I have to do is play the mental health card!"

The footage shows Joseph Dearden slurring and struggling to remain upright after caused an horrific smash on a residential road in Bolton, following a boozy pub session in which he downed six pints of lager and five shots.

He appears unconcerned that he had left one man, 25, with life-changing injuries, slurring to the cops who arrested him: "All I have to do is play the mental health card!" The sozzled driver refused to get into an ambulance.

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Dearden, 27, from Bolton, managed to get out of his smashed van and attempted to flee the scene only to be detained by shocked residents who came out and saw a scene of carnage. Other footage released by Greater Manchester Police revealed the speed at which he was travelling and also the wreckage he caused in the crash.

Now he has been jailed for what police described as 'callous and cowardly' behaviour.

The drama began when Dearden drove in his company-owned Renault Trafic van to Nook & Cranny pub on Darwen Road in the Bromley Cross area of Bolton at 6.33pm on Friday, August 13, 2021. What followed was a three-hour and 40-minute bender in which the subsequent police investigation found he downed seven pints of lager and five shots of tequila.

Joseph Dearden -Credit:gmp
Joseph Dearden -Credit:gmp

CCTV showed Dearden staggering out of the pub, towards the front door and 'acting in a drunken and erratic manner', according to police. He was captured swaying and 'staggering backwards and forwards' clearly unsteady on his feet.

He was so drunk he grabbed at items round him to maintain upright. Despite his condition, he got behind the wheel of his van.

He drove away from the pub along Darwen Road where, at speed and on the wrong side of the road, he collided with parked vehicles and smashed head-on into another and then careered into a Range Rover.

The head-on smash with a Ford Fiesta left the 25-year-old driver of the car with life-changing injuries, police have revealed.

Dearden hit his head on the windscreen of his van, causing a severe head injury. Witnesses reported that Dearden became increasingly aggressive and then tried to flee the scene.

But Dearden, of Hathaway Drive in Bolton, was eventually captured and today (Friday) he appeared at Bolton Crown Court where he was jailed for two-and-a-half years after he pleaded guilty to causing serious injury by dangerous driving and driving whilst unfit through drink.

After the hearing, Sergeant Antony Hannon, of GMP’s Road Policing Unit based in Eccles, said: "Firstly, I must thank the victim for being strong throughout the entire investigation alongside multiple surgeries. I must also thank their family for supporting them through it.

"Dearden’s reckless actions that night left the victim, a 25-year-old man, with serious life-changing injuries. His behaviour on the night in trying to flee the scene after consuming alcohol all night was cowardly.

"Dearden has never shown any remorse or apologised to the victim and his disregard for the victim and his actions is callous. I must thank the witnesses who detained Dearden at the scene and assisted with the extensive investigation that has been carried out.

"I hope today’s sentencing will give some confidence to the family going forward."