Drug driver avoids jail after Dalton town centre rampage

A DRUG driver who left a trail of destruction on the streets of a town has avoided jail.

Toby Lee O’Neill had to be detained by pub-goers after a drug-fuelled rampage through Dalton led to him colliding with cars, a bollard and a picnic bench in a pub beer garden.

The 20-year-old was sentenced by a judge when he appeared at Preston Crown Court yesterday.

Previously appearing before magistrates, he sobbed in the dock as he admitted a string of offences, including dangerous driving.

O’Neill was sentenced to a total of one year in prison, suspended for two years.

Prosecutor Lee Dacre said the incident happened at around 6.30pm on April 14.

At an earlier hearing he said a woman was walking down Hall Street when the driver nearly knocked her over at the beginning of the incident.

“She heard a car screech, she looked up to see a vehicle going towards her towards Fell Croft,” he said.

“She thought she was going to get hit. She had to jump out of the way of the vehicle.

“The vehicle was driving onward to Fell Croft when it then crashed into a small red vehicle that was parked.

“It continued driving and crashed into another vehicle.

“It carried on and hit a bollard, knocking it over.

“The vehicle moved off and hit a picnic bench in a pub beer garden.

“The driver was seen trying to open the door but members of the public were restraining him to prevent him from leaving.”

The court heard the red car he hit, worth £3,000, was written off.

Mr Dacre said when apprehended by police, O’Neill told officers: “I’ve taken a lot of cocaine.”

The court heard the defendant failed to provide a sample of blood or urine for testing.

Magistrates were told O’Neill, of Low White Close in Barrow, had previously been jailed for a road rage incident in which he threw a car jack at another motorist out the window of his vehicle on Dalton bypass.

He was sentenced for another dangerous driving incident that saw him crash his car into a wall and leave with two passengers ‘trapped’.

Defending, Michael Graham said O’Neill had not committed any offences since being released from prison on June 4.

He said the defendant had undergone a ‘sea change’ following a ‘chaotic nine months’ that included the three incidents.

O’Neill admitted dangerous driving, possession of cocaine, failing to provide a specimen and driving otherwise than in accordance with a licence and without insurance.

For dangerous driving he was sentenced to a year in prison suspended for two years. For possessing cocaine he was sentenced to 10 weeks suspended for two years.

He was also told to complete 300 hours of unpaid work.

The Westmorland Gazette | News