A judge told 29-year-old Ariel Babiarz that it was “a minor miracle” he was the only person seriously injured in the events six months ago when his vehicle flipped over a Volkswagen car and forced an Audi driver to steer into a ditch to avoid a potentially fatal collision.
Bradford Crown Court heard today (Tues) that after missing the Audi on the A65 near Austwick in North Yorkshire the road sweeper itself rolled three or four times before coming to rest on its side.
The passenger in the Audi feared herself and her partner could have been killed had he not managed to avoid the road sweeper.
Babiarz, of Maudsley Street, Accrington, suffered a fractured back and a broken ankle in the crash and while he was being treated in hospital a blood sample revealed he was still almost double the legal alcohol limit.
Prosecutor Philip Adams described how the first collision with the Volkswagen happened at about 10.45am on March 9 when Babiarz’s vehicle was coming down a hill on the B6480 Bentham road.
The road sweeper, which had a defective front offside brake disc, crashed into the car and flipped it onto its side leaving the female motorist with bruising and whiplash injuries.
The court heard that Babiarz remained at the scene of that accident for about 15 minutes, but while paramedics were treating the motorist he ignored pleas to stay until the police arrived and simply got back in his road sweeper.
Mr Adams said Babiarz was then seen by another motorist driving his vehicle right up behind his car and being “all over the road”.
“He described his driving as an accident waiting to happen,” said Mr Adams.
Recorder Jamie Hill QC was referred to a series of photographs of both accident scenes and Mr Adams said Babiarz admitted that he knew about the brake defect on his road sweeper.
Last month Babiarz, who had no previous convictions, pleaded guilty to charges of dangerous driving and driving while over the prescribed limit.
Barrister Harry Crowson, for Babiarz, said he was fully remorseful and glad that noone but himself had been seriously hurt.
He described his client’s behaviour as complete foolishness and said he had now taken steps to rehabilitate himself by not drinking any alcohol since May and joining Alcholics Anonymous.
Mr Crowson said Babiarz had lost his job with a plant hire company following the accidents, but had now managed to get work in a garage.
He said the alcohol had been consumed the night before and Babiarz didn’t realise he was still over the limit.
“It is a minor miracle that nobody was seriously hurt apart from yourself,” the judge told Babiarz.
“This is a serious offence of dangerous driving aggravated by the fact that you were still over the limit from the previous night’s drinking.”
The judge said he had been urged to consider an alternative to immediate custody, but said:”The difficulty here is that it was such a trail of destruction and there were so many other people who were quite clearly left traumatised by your driving that I’m not able to do that.”
Babiarz was also banned from driving for a total of three years and 18 weeks and he must take an extended driving test before lawfully driving on the roads again.