Drunk delivery driver swerved between lanes on M4 in front of marked police car

·2-min read
Burke was banned from the roads for 15 months. File photo: Getty.
Burke was banned from the roads for 15 months. File photo: Getty.

A DRUNK delivery driver swerved between live lanes and the hard shoulder of the M4 right in front of a marked police car.

Raymond Sylvester Burke was behind the wheel of his Ford Transit van late at night last month when he overtook a police car, slowed to 50 miles per hour and then swerved between lanes.

He was unsteady when police pulled him over and a breath test revealed he was just over double the drink drive limit.

There was no suggestion he was working at the time.

At Swindon Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday he pleaded guilty to a charge of drink driving.

The court heard Burke was in danger of losing his job and could potentially be made homeless.

But the court heard the chief executive of his employer, who dropped him off at court, said the firm would take him back if the inevitable driving ban was not too long.

District Judge Joanna Dickens reduced the ban she would normally impose, from 18-20 months to 15 months, taking into account his need to travel to see family and that he would lose his job.

Earlier, the court heard the marked police car was travelling westbound on the M4 between junction 14 at Hungerford and 15 near Swindon at 11.30pm on June 12.

Burke, of St Cleers in Somerton, Somerset, overtook the police car in lane 2 before moving back to lane 1, prosecutor Pauline Lambert said. Travelling at 50mph, he was weaving in the lane and would straddle the hard shoulder and lanes 1 and 2.

Just before the one-mile marker for Membury services, the police car put on its blue lights and sirens, but the van did not pull into the service station.

Eventually Burke was stopped on the hard shoulder and was unsteady on his feet.

Defending, Phillip Hatvany said: “My client would like me to start by saying just how sorry he is.

“My client will be severely affected as will others through the inevitable disqualification.”

Mr Hatvany said he spoke to the chief executive of his unnamed employer, who described the 55-year-old as a fantastic employee. “As a delivery driver he goes the extra mile.”

Sentencing, District Judge Dickens said: “This is a serious offence because it happened on the motorway. It could literally have caused a pile-up; people could have died.”

Burke can reduce his 15-month ban by taking a drink drive awareness course.

He was also fined £200, and ordered to pay costs of £85 and a £34 victim surcharge.