‘You could’ve killed someone’: Hornchurch pizza delivery man banned from driving after downing whisky and crashing car

Jeyaraja Thusanthan said he had been out drinking with friends and thought he was OK to drive home.

Jeyaraja Thusanthan said he had been out drinking with friends and thought he was OK to drive home. Picture: PA - Credit: PA Archive/Press Association Ima

A Hornchurch pizza delivery driver who downed half a bottle of whisky before crashing his car has been banned from getting behind the wheel for 23 months.

Jeyaraja Thusanthan, 37, of Plumpton Avenue, pleaded guilty to driving while over the legal alcohol limit during a previous hearing at Barkingside Magistrates' Court on Friday, May 31.

Yesterday (Tuesday, June 4) at the same court he was disqualified from driving for 23 months, ordered to complete a 12-month community order including 80 hours unpaid work and required to pay £170 in court costs.

He will have the chance to complete a drink driving awareness course which would see the length of his ban reduced by 23 weeks.

Just after midnight on March 12 this year, Thusanthan was stopped by police in Hacton Lane, Upminster.

He had been involved in a damage only collision and was seen to be unsteady on his feet as he got out of his white Vauxhall Safira.

The father-of-three was tested by officers at the scene and found to have 221mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood - almost three times over the legal limit of 80mg.

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Thusanthan's defence solicitor told the court he had been celebrating his 10th wedding anniversary that night with friends, and that after he closed his fast food business - Pizza Gogo in Upminster - he drank half a bottle of whiskey before deciding to drive home.

On that journey, he hit a kerb and punctured a tyre.

Witnesses described seeing him drunkenly stagger from the vehicle and make his way up the road.

He was stopped by police 400m away from his crashed car - he was seen trying to hide from officers in a nearby hedge.

His solicitor said: "He realises the serious nature of this offence and accepts this was a stupid mistake.

"He thought he was ok to drive and realises in hindsight what a mistake that was. He wasn't thinking straight at the time."

Before passing sentence, the chief magistrate told Thusanthan that drink driving was "an extremely serious offence that the court takes very, very seriously".

She added: "There was an extremely high level of alcohol in your blood stream - you are not far short of going straight to prison for being so drunk and in a car.

"It is clear from the witness statements that there were people around at the time.

"You could have killed someone."