Drink driver jailed for crashing Audi A3 then lying to police

Valentin Culea was jailed at Ipswich Crown Court for eight months

Valentin Culea was jailed at Ipswich Crown Court for eight months - Credit: Suffolk police

A drink driver who crashed his Audi A3 and then lied to police by telling them his car had been stolen has been jailed. 

Ipswich Crown Court heard how a lorry driver saw a Audi A3 with its front end in some bushes near Haverhill Business Park, just off the A1017 bypass around 3.30am on May 14 last year. 

The lorry driver noticed some damage to the front end of the car and the police were called, Simon Connolly, prosecuting, told the court. 

Checks were carried out and the registered keeper was identified as 28-year-old Valentin Culea, and officers left to attend his home address. 

However, as they left the scene they saw two men walking near the industrial estate, and one was carrying an open container of alcohol, the court heard. 

Officers asked for identification but Culea told them he did not have any, Mr Connolly said. 

But when the men were told they were going to be searched, Culea produced a wallet with identification. 

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He was arrested and breathalysed, blowing 80 microgrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath. The legal limit is 35mcg in 100ml of breath. 

Keys to the Audi A3 were also found on Culea, but he denied driving the car and his friend was also arrested and breathalysed. 

Both men were taken to Bury St Edmunds Police Investigation Centre, and in the back of the car the pair began talking to each other in Romanian. 

The conversation was captured on an officer's body-worn device, and Culea was later found to have told his friend to deny everything and not tell police he had been driving. 

When he was booked into custody at the station, he even told police he wanted to report his car stolen, Mr Connolly said. 

In police interview, Culea insisted he or his friend had not been driving the car and that he did not know anything about the collision. 

The court heard that Culea, of Mill Road, Haverhill, had one previous conviction for drink driving and was banned for 17 months in February 2020, meaning he disqualified at the time of this offence. 

Culea, a warehouse worker, previously pleaded guilty to perverting the course of justice and drink driving at his plea and trial preparation hearing. 

Recorder Darren Reed jailed Culea for eight months and banned him from driving for 44 months.