Driver downed vodka before flipping lorry on A90

Darren Moorhouse was jailed for a year yesterday. Picture: Kingdom
Darren Moorhouse was jailed for a year yesterday. Picture: Kingdom
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A DRUNK lorry driver who downed half a litre of vodka while his lorry was being loaded then flipped the trailer on a dual carriageway during the rush hour has been jailed.

Darren Moorhouse drank three-quarters of a bottle of the spirit as he waited in Peterhead on 24 April.

He drove 100 miles south on the A90 before causing a “dramatic” smash on the Kingsway in Dundee.

Moorhouse drove his articulated lorry, carrying 23 tonnes of peat briquettes, too quickly as he went round the Myrekirk roundabout on the outskirts of the city.

The offside wheels left the road and Moorhouse tried to correct it. The trailer became detached before falling on to the carriageway and central ­reservation.

Police took Moorhouse to Dundee’s headquarters and found he was three times the drink-drive limit.

Fiscal depute Susan Ruta told Dundee Sheriff Court yesterday that the lorry driver had stopped at Ellon, Aberdeenshire, to drop off a load and bought the bottle of vodka on his way to Peterhead from there.

The court was shown CCTV footage that showed the trailer toppling in busy traffic before sliding down the road. It did not hit any other vehicles despite the accident happening at 5pm.

Miss Ruta said: “The lorry had gradually slowed down as a ­pedestrian crossed the road just before the roundabout, then while negotiating the roundabout itself the off-side wheels had lifted from the ground.

“The vehicle then turned to the left to egress from the roundabout and the load and trailer had shifted to the off side.

“The trailer unit then became detached from the tractor unit and landed on its side in lane two, continuing to slide for a short distance.”

The fiscal said while it was difficult to say for sure what speed the lorry was travelling at, it was thought to have been 20-25mph.

The court heard Moorhouse had been suspended from driving after the incident, and had lost his job as a result.

Moorhouse, 40, of Burnley Road, Burnley, admitted driving the HGV with 111 microgrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath. The limit is 35.

He also admitted driving dangerously by attempting to negotiate the roundabout at excessive speed and losing control of the vehicle.

Defence solicitor Mike Ferrie said Moorhouse was married to a Thai woman he met on the internet last year, and had four children from a previous ­marriage.

He said: “He has no previous convictions and is extremely worried about the prospect of custody.

“He can’t really explain why this incident occurred. He has much to lose here if custody is imposed.

“This incident could have presented danger not only to other drivers and himself but to ­pedestrians as well.

“It was fortunate that much worse did not come as a consequence of this.”

Sheriff Richard McFarlane jailed Moorhouse for a year and banned him from driving for three years.

He said: “You could not have been in control of that vehicle from the start of that journey.

“I find it incomprehensible that you had committed the first offence of driving with a significant amount of alcohol in your breath, which then led to the dangerous driving.

“There’s no real explanation as to why you drank so much vodka while waiting on your trailer being freighted.

“I’ve never come across a situation so stark.”