‘Spiked’ crash driver jailed

The crash scene at the time

The crash scene at the time

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A DRIVER who caused carnage by crashing into half a dozen cars had his lager spiked, a court was told.

David Clayton knew nothing of the sleeping drug Alprazolam having been put in his drink until it showed up later on a police blood test.

Clayton, who was at the wheel of his father’s Mercedes, ended up colliding with a moped on Kilnhouse Lane, St Annes.

He then hit five other vehicles on Queensway.

A woman in one car suffered a fractured breast bone and had to be cut free from the vehicle. Several others suffered whiplash-type injuries in the crashes which happened on November 23, 2009.

Eyewitnesses described the Mercedes as having weaved or swerved from side to side in the road.

Following the collisions he fell asleep as soon as he was put into a police vehicle.

Preston Crown Court was told the drug involved could have a sedative effect, as well as causing an inability to control bodily movements.

Clayton, 28, of Beverley Grove, Blackpool was jailed for nine months.

He pleaded guilty to dangerous driving and driving with excess alcohol. Although he was under the limit at the time he was tested by police, a back calculation showed he would have been over the limit at the relevant time.

The prosecution accepted Clayton’s drink had been spiked with a drug. It may have been put in his drink by a passenger who left the scene afterwards.

The defendant had not been prescribed it and was not on any medication.

Martin Hackett, prosecuting, said Clayton had been to the Harvester pub in St Annes.

He told police he had drunk two lagers. He was “absolutely devastated” and could not believe what had happened.

The court heard a forensic scientist report listed possible side effects of the drug, which included drowsiness, an inability to control bodily movements, a loss of co-ordination.

Paul Humphries, defending, said the drug had clearly had a “significant impact” on him, which would not be explained by the alcohol.

“The prosecution found it in his system. It was the considerable cause of his inability to drive.

“It had been introduced to his drink, without his knowledge, by someone else.

“The defendant has since passed an advanced driving test”.

In passing sentence, Judge Stuart Baker told Clayton: “It is impossible to say precisely what the effect of the drug would have been, with the alcohol.

“I must infer in your favour, that it will have had some effect.

“I cannot accept it would have been the sole cause”.