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‘Sleep driving’ man avoids jail after 100mph crash

A drink driver who crashed his car after hitting speeds of up to 100mph has avoided jail after telling a court he wasn’t at fault because he was sleepwalking. David Hamnett drank whiskey and wine before setting off on a 150-mile journey, which ended when he hit another car and the motorway’s central partition.

Hamnett got hammered on whiskey and wine before setting off on a 150-mile journey.
Hamnett (not pictured) got hammered on whiskey and wine before setting off on a 150-mile journey.

Hamnett was spared jail after telling the court he had been “sleep driving” and that he’d slept-walked to his car before driving off on his usual weekly commute from Ormskirk, Lancs to Devon. The 47-year-old Marine Engineer was found in a t-shirt and jogging bottoms and had to be cut from the wreckage.

He claimed he must have been asleep during the entire drive. Judge Peter Barrie accepted he had a genuine sleeping disorder and that it was plausible he had gotten into the car while asleep. However the judge also said Mr Hamnett was likely to have carried on the journey after waking up.

Judge Barrie said: “This was a highly dangerous incident at high speed, weaving on a motorway and causing an accident in which you and the occupants of another car suffered significant injuries.
“It could have been much worse and an aggravating feature was that you were well over the drink drive limit.”

Mr Hamnett was convicted of dangerous driving, handed a twelve month community order, banned from driving for six months and ordered to take an advanced driving test.

Commenting on the case, Dr Idzikowski, director of the Edinburgh Sleep Centre, said it was “highly unlikely” Mr Hamnett could have snoozed behind the wheel without crashing for two hours.

Image: Flickr

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