York & North Yorkshire

Austwick drink-drive road sweeper Ariel Babiarz jailed

Road sweeper on its side Image copyright North Yorkshire Police
Image caption Babiarz admitted to police he had drunk nearly a litre of rum the night before the crashes

A drink-driver left a trail of destruction in his defective road sweeper in two crashes, forcing one car onto its side and another into a ditch.

Ariel Babiarz, who has been jailed, told police he had drunk nearly a litre of rum the night before the collisions.

The 7.5 tonne vehicle finally stopped when he rolled it on the A65 in North Yorkshire, Bradford Crown Court heard.

At the time the defendant, 29, of Maudsley Street, Accrington, was almost double the legal alcohol limit.

Babiarz fractured his back and broke his ankle in the crash, near Austwick in March.

Image copyright North Yorkshire Police
Image caption The road sweeper hit a red Volkswagen Lupo on the B6480 in High Bentham

Prosecutor Philip Adams said the first crash happened on 9 March, as Babiarz drove down a hill on the B6480.

The road sweeper, which had a defective brake disc, hit the car, flipped it onto its side and left a motorist with injuries including fractured ribs.

Babiarz then ignored pleas to stay at the scene and got back into his road sweeper, the court heard.

Image copyright North Yorkshire Police
Image caption Babiarz admitted he knew about the brake defect on his road sweeper, said Mr Adams

Babiarz, who had no previous convictions, pleaded guilty last month to charges of dangerous driving and driving while over the proscribed limit.

Harry Crowson, defending, said his client was remorseful and had joined Alcoholics Anonymous.

"This is a serious offence of dangerous driving aggravated by the fact that you were still over the limit from the previous night's drinking", said the judge, Recorder Jamie Hill QC.

The judge said he had been urged to consider an alternative to custody, but said: "The difficulty here is that it was such a trail of destruction and there were so many other people who were quite clearly left traumatised by your driving that I'm not able to do that."

Babiarz was jailed for 36 weeks and banned from driving for a total of three years and 18 weeks.

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