Fleet News

Company car driver had drunk 10 pints of beer

A drink driver was nearly four times over the limit when he crashed his company car after a Christmas night out, an inquest into his death has heard.

Karl Howes, 34, had consumed ten pints of beer and some spirits before deciding to drive from Bingley to his home in Cottingley, near Bradford, on December 20 last year, the Telegraph and Argus reports.

CCTV evidence showed him reversing into a bus shelter before accelerating away in the black BMW and colliding with two other cars.

Minutes later he had lost control, hitting a kerb, a bin, a stone wall, a tree and then a lamppost, which acted like a ramp sending his car back into the middle of the road on its roof.

PC Paul Lightowler, of West Yorkshire Police Major Collision Investigation Unit, told the inquest that witnesses had seen the car swerving as it was driven away at speed.

One woman had recognised Howes and tried to stop him driving off after he reversed into the bus shelter but he had got out of the car and hugged her before setting off.

Police officers attending an unrelated incident then saw him collide with the two other cars as he passed, failing to stop.

PC Lightowler said Howes was likely to have been driving at up to 60mph in a 40mph zone before the crash.

An off-duty police officer and a man who had been walking home were first at the scene and found him lifeless in the car, although the driver and passenger compartments were intact.

He was later found to have 315 milligrammes of alcohol in 100 millliitres of blood. The legal limit is 80 milligrammes.

A post-mortem examination could find no fatal injuries caused by the crash itself and the only cause of death offered by the pathologist was alcohol intoxication.

The inquest heard how Howes, who worked for food company Speedibake, managing multi-million pound accounts, had suffered bouts of depression – not being linked to his death – after having his jaw broken in an unprovoked attack in 2009 and being previously made redundant from Bradford-based Hallmark cards.


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