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Police who pulled over M11 lorry driver found him slumped over the wheel and a near-empty bottle of whiskey in the back of his cab

Police who approached a lorry they had pulled over on the M11 towards Bishop’s Stortford saw the driver slumped over the wheel, a court heard.

They also spotted a near-empty bottle of whiskey in the back of his cab. A roadside test revealed he was four times the legal drink-drive limit.

Driver Gheorghe-Daniel Cristea, 34, narrowly avoided an immediate jail term when he appeared at Chelmsford Magistrates’ Court on Monday (March 18) for sentencing for dangerous driving and drink-driving. He had pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing.

He was sentenced to 24 weeks’ imprisonment, suspended for two years, disqualified from holding a licence for three years and ordered to complete 100 hours of community service.

On November 14 last year, Cristea, of High Street, Swanscombe, Kent, was driving a 44-ton articulated lorry on the westbound M25 between junctions 28 (Brentwood) and 27 (M11). The HGV was witnessed braking hard at the exit for the M11, almost hitting the central reservation before joining the motorway northbound.

Police officers tried to stop the artic on the M11 by initiating blue lights and a matrix board in the back of their car reading “Follow me”, but Cristea took no notice of them for half a mile before stopping on the hard shoulder.

Sgt David Martin, of Essex Police’s roads policing unit, said: “Cristea’s actions were dangerous and part of a very bad decision that risked his and other road users’ safety. It was dangerous and fell far below the actions of a careful and competent driver.

“Anyone four times the drink-drive limit is a danger on the road, no matter how safe they think they are.

“As a priority for the roads policing unit, we will continue to patrol our county’s roads, ensuring enforcement action is taken against anyone who flouts the law.”

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