Northumberland dad found to be drug-driving after another vehicle crashes into the back of him

Ashley Hill outside Newcastle Magistrates' Court
-Credit: (Image: ChronicleLive)

A dad has been banned from the roads after he was found to be drug-driving.

Ashley Hill was driving a Ford S Max on the A69 in Northumberland when his car broke down. Newcastle Magistrates' Court heard another vehicle crashed into the back of him and the police attended.

The 37-year-old failed a road side drugs swipe and was taken to hospital with injuries. A blood test revealed that he had showed that he had benzoylecgonine - a cocaine breakdown product - in his blood.

The court in Newcastle heard how officers were called to a crash, of which Hill was not responsible, on January 28 this year.

Brian Payne, prosecuting, said police tested both drivers and Hill failed a road side drugs swipe. He said he was taken to hospital for treatment and a blood sample was taken. The test revealed he had 493 micrograms of benzoylecgonine in his blood. The limit is 50 micrograms.

Hill, of Scotsville Terrace, Haltwhistle, Northumberland, pleaded guilty to driving a motor vehicle with a proportion of a specified controlled drug above the specified limit.

Michael Crowe, defending, told the court: "The position here is the defendant had been driving a relatively local journey and he found himself in a situation where his car broke down on the A69. So his car lost power and he had his hazard lights on, he couldn't start the car.

"The car that was travelling behind him was unable to avoid him and drove straight into the back of him. Action has been taken against the driver of that car, I have been told, because of the manner of their driving."

Mr Crowe said that Hill lives in a relatively rural area with his wife and his two young children. He said Hill has had a problem with cocaine in the past and is a recovering addict.

His solicitor added: "He felt he was fine to drive, he was surprised that he gave the reading that he did. There's no suggestion there was any defect in the manner of his driving."

Mr Crowe urged magistrates to consider limiting the driving disqualification, which magistrates have to give Hill, to a period of 12 months as it will cause difficulty for his family.

Chair of the Bench, Nick Hooker, told Hill that he will be banned from driving for 12 months. He ordered him to pay a £120 fine, £85 costs and a £48 surcharge - a total of £253.