Drunk driver flees crash as members of public try to pull him from wrecked car

Zamira Rahim
Members of the public wrestled with the driver: Devon Live / SWNS.com

A drunk driver fled the scene of a crash in his wrecked vehicle even as members of the public tried to drag him from it, a court heard.

Emilio Gates crashed his Audi A5 into a garage in Teignmouth, Devon on 14 July.

David Jeffrey, the property's owner, was hosting a barbecue when he heard the car crash into his garage.

Mr Jeffrey and a crowd of his friends found the driver standing next to his vehicle.

The 26-year-old was described in court by a prosecuting lawyer as "clearly unsteady on his feet".

He climbed back into the Audi despite the damage done, performed a three-point turn and drove away. The driver's escape was caught on camera.

Mr Jeffrey and others can be seen in the footage struggling with the man as they try to take his keys from him.

Members of the group also tried to wrestle him away from the wheel. The driver managed to get away from the crowd but his escape did not last long.

He drove back to his mother's house, hitting a skip and another car on the way.

Police officers arrested him shortly afterwards and noted that his pupils were like pinpricks and that he was acting as though under the influence.

Mr Gates was charged with dangerous driving and pleaded guilty during an appearance at Exeter Crown Court.

He apologised for his behaviour and said he had become drunk on the day of the crash at a family party and had also taken Valium to cope with depression.

"You drove that vehicle and in that state you collided with the property, and ignoring warnings, drove off in a way which risked seriously injuring people doing their best to minimise the risk you posed to others," Judge David Evans said.

The groundworker was handed a suspended sentence, disqualified from driving for 15 months and has to complete 140 hours of unpaid work.

He was also told to pay compensation and costs of £550.

Agencies contributed to this report