THE LOUTH driver of a Call Connect bus has escaped an immediate prison sentence after pleading guilty at Skegness Magistrates Court to driving his bus in Horncastle when four times the alcohol limit.
Justin Snodin, 40, of Newmarket, pleaded guilty to driving the 28-seater bus on Lincoln Road, Horncastle, after consuming so much alcohol that the proportion in his breath was 136 microgrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath. The legal maximum is 35.
Mr Jim Clare, prosecuting, said a concerned member of the public, who was a passenger in a car behind the bus as it drove along the A16 from Louth, called the police after seeing the bus swerving across the road and mounting the verge on the opposite side.
At first he thought the driver must be ill but, when the bus stopped and he spoke to the driver, he realised that he was under the influence of alcohol.
He continued to follow the bus, which was often on the wrong side of the road, was travelling at high speeds and mounting the verges. On one occasion a car coming in the opposite direction had to take evasive action.
When the bus arrived at Horncastle, the police attended and arrested Snodin.
There was also a woman passenger who was shouting and swearing and was also arrested for being drunk and disorderly.
Snodin told police he had been drinking the night before and did not realise he was over the limit. He was said to be a recovering alcoholic.
In defence, Terry Boston said Snodin was taking positive action to address his problems with alcohol. “His life has been devastated. He has lost his job and his self-esteem,” he told the magistrates.
Snodin was sentenced to 26 weeks’ imprisonment, suspended for a year, and ordered to attend an alcohol treatment programme.
He was also disqualified from driving for three years and ordered to pay costs of £85.