Cumbria M6 coach driver on drugs 'put lives in danger'

image copyrightCourt reporter
image captionStuart John Jones had taken drugs before driving 23 passengers back from Liverpool

A bus driver who had taken drugs drove so erratically on the M6 motorway one of his passengers pulled the handbrake on to stop him.

Stuart John Jones, 42, of Ffynnongroyw, Holywell, Flintshire, admitted dangerous driving and possessing drugs while transporting 23 people in November.

Carlisle Crown Court heard that Jones seemed to be "in another world."

He was given a suspended 12-month jail sentence and a three-year driving ban.

He must also complete 200 hours' unpaid work and attend rehabilitation.

'Placed in danger'

Jones was driving back from Liverpool to Workington, Cumbria, on 11 November when passengers became concerned about his driving, the court heard.

They asked him to stop using his phone and to pull off the M6, but when he continued along the hard shoulder, near Burton, south Cumbria, a passenger pulled on the handbrake.

Prosecutor Rachel Woods told the court passengers were scared and "felt their lives had been placed in danger".

When police arrived, Jones was found to be in possession of the class A drug methylamphetamine as well as the drugs diazepam and lorazepam.

'Great decline'

A blood test revealed he had taken illegal drugs.

Recorder Michael Murray told Jones: "Because you had taken drugs it made you totally unfit to drive.

"You could have killed somebody because of this irresponsibility."

Jones had surrendered his public service vehicle licence, lost his job and had suffered a "great decline" in his physical and mental health, the court heard.

But he has now been offered a non-driving job and is receiving help.