A DRIVER who abandoned his car after crashing into a flood has been banned from the roads.

David Reginald Eckley admitted drink-driving when he appeared before magistrates in Hereford.

Police had been called to a report of a crash on the C1125 at Wergins Bridge, near Sutton St Nicholas at 7.37pm on December 22, prosecutor Ralph Robyns Landricombe said.

The witness reported that a Vauxhall Insignia had left the road, and that the male driver had left the scene and been taken to the nearby Golden Cross pub.

On arrival, police found the car had smashed through roadside barriers and landed in a flooded field beside the river Lugg, but the driver was nowhere to be seen and fire service water rescue teams were called out to search for the car's occupants, while enquiries confirmed that no-one had arrived at the pub.

Eckley, who had been identified as the driver, arrived at his home in New Street, Ludlow, at 10.20pm, where he was arrested after failing a breath test. An evidential test in custody revealed he had 53 microgrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath. The legal limit is 35.

In interview, the 39-year-old said he had been working as a labourer at a site in Woolhope, and had drunk two cans of Stella lager during the day. At 3pm, the work crew had gone to the Bunch of Carrots pub at Hampton Bishop, where he had two pints of Butty Bach ale with his lunch, before heading to the Crown and Anchor in Lugwardine, where he said he had nothing further to drink.


Eckley told police he had felt fine to drive, but had been caught out by a sharp corner on the road after a long straight, crash-landing in waist-deep water. He said he had then started walking towards the village when he was picked up by a passer-by who drove him to Hereford Station, where he had caught a train home.

Edmund Middleton, for Eckley, said he had fallen on his sword in interview, admitting that he had been drinking and that he had been driving.

"He did not foresee that it would prompt such a response from the emergency services," Mr Middleton said.

Eckley was disqualified from driving for 16 months and fined £360. He must also pay costs of £135 and a £36 victim surcharge.