October 24th, 2016

Drunk driver jailed after ploughing into house

Drunk driver jailed after ploughing into house Drunk driver jailed after ploughing into house
Updated: 3:11 pm, May 07, 2015

A DRUNKEN Kenilworth man who ploughed through the front wall of a family’s home and ended up in the hallway could have killed all three children in the house, said a judge.

Rejecting an argument that John Woodhead could be given a suspended sentence with an alcohol programme, the judge at Warwick Crown Court said his main duty was to protect the public.

Woodhead, of Kenilworth Hall, Bridge Street, was jailed for 18 months and banned from driving for five years, after which he will have to take an extended test.

The 44 year-old had pleaded guilty to charges of driving his Audi S8 dangerously in Coventry, and failing to provide a specimen for analysis.

Prosecutor Andrew Wilkins said on May 10 Woodhead’s powerful Audi had gone straight through the front of the McCutchion family’s home in Earlsdon Avenue South, destroying the door and part of the wall, and into the hallway where it smashed into the stairs.

Alister McCutchion, who made a 999 call, was trapped upstairs because of the damage to the stairs, and could not get to his wife and three children, aged four, six and eight, who were downstairs.

His wife and two of the children had just gone into the lounge where they were also trapped, while their oldest child, who had been in the kitchen, rushed out into the garden with their pet Labrador.

In the smoke and dust, Mr McCutcheon clambered down the partly-destroyed stairs to try to help the occupants of the car.

But Woodhead climbed out of the driver’s window and walked out of the house, leaving his injured partner in the Audi, and began making his way from the scene of devastation.

Woodhead claimed his brakes had failed, which was not true, and continued to walk away, and when he was arrested nearby he refused to take a breath test.

Mr Wilkins, who said the family had had to move out of their home because of the damage, added Woodhead had two previous convictions for failing to provide specimens.

Richard Hendron, defending, conceded Woodhead had been in trouble before for two driving matters, but that he had been ‘in no trouble at all’ for five years.

Mr Hendron added on the day of the crash Woodhead and his partner had been to a funeral, after which he had been drinking, which he should not do because of medication he was on.

He said Woodhead was a part-time carer for his parents, particularly his mother, and if he was jailed he would also lose his job as an insurance assessor and his partner would not be able to afford the rent on their flat.

Recorder David Bright told Woodhead: “You drink, and you choose to drink, and have no sense of the limits. You simply seem to disregard the effects it has on you, and then you get into a motor car and off you drive.

“A drunken man at the wheel of a car is a man in charge of a weapon that can kill.

“You drove into the wall of someone’s home, straight through the wall into the sitting room. This is the home of a mother and father and three young children.

“You’re very fortunate they were not in the living room. You could have killed all three children if they had been playing in that room.

“The court’s duty is to protect the public from drivers like you. The time to show you mercy has gone.”