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'Careless and stupid' drink and drug driver caused three-car smash

Benjamin Berry appeared at magistrates' court in Ipswich  Picture: ARCHANT

Benjamin Berry appeared at magistrates' court in Ipswich Picture: ARCHANT

A drink and drug fuelled driver whose dangerous manoeuvring caused a three-car collision could face imprisonment next month.

Benjamin Berry appeared before magistrates in Ipswich on Tuesday to admit dangerous driving and driving while over the limit for alcohol and cannabis.

The 24-year-old, of Parkway, Wickham Market, crashed his Toyota Corolla Verso into two other cars while attempting to overtake on a 30mph stretch of the B1438 Yarmouth Road through Ufford at about 5.50pm on November 29 last year.

Prosecutor Wayne Ablett explained how the driver of an oncoming car one of only 15 of its kind left in the country had looked down from glancing in his rear view mirror to see headlights approaching in the same lane.

“He described the oncoming vehicle as being driven very erratically and swerving all over the place,” said Mr Ablett.

Braking hard, the driver heard an “almighty bang” and felt his vehicle shake before it came to rest on a verge.

He was initially unable to exit the written-off car but was helped out by the driver of another vehicle to arrive at the scene.

He then approached Berry’s car and found him with head in hands and bloodshot eyes.

The three occupants of the third vehicle involved had been on their way to Ufford Park Hotel when Berry tried to overtake and clipped their offside, showering them in broken glass.

In a statement read to magistrates, the driver described Berry’s actions as “extremely careless and stupid”.

Tests carried out at hospital found Berry had been driving while twice the legal alcohol limit and with five milligrammes of cannabis derivative Detra-9-THC in 100ml of blood the legal limit being two milligrammes.

Berry, who made no comment in police interview, was banned from driving for 17 months for excess alcohol in March 2017.

Mr Ablett said: “He showed clear and deliberate disregard for the safety of others by overtaking in a 30mph area, causing a head-on collision while under the influence of alcohol and drugs, aggravated by a previous drink-driving conviction.”

Solicitor Jeremy Kendall said Berry’s “significant personal mitigation” would be presented at his crown court sentencing on April 2. A full pre-sentence probation report will be prepared in the meantime.

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