Decision-making is certainly not at its best when the individual is suffering from addiction. Addiction can result in the addict making poor decisions that will have an enormous negative impact on their life. This can mean that the affected person becomes involved in illegal practices, such as drink driving offences. This happened to Michael Puncheon, who was spotted drink driving by police officers and then proceeded to drive at over 100 miles per hour along two motorways in an attempt to get away from them.
Thirty-one-year-old Puncheon was spotted by officers as he was driving his van slowly, in the middle of two lanes, in the early hours of the morning one day in November 2016. Officers signalled him to pull over, and he did; however, once the police officers got out of their vehicle and approached his van, Puncheon sped away in an attempt to escape. It was heard that Puncheon, who was intoxicated at the time, drove over twenty miles from Rickmansworth to Luton before police eventually stopped him. He drove at 100 miles per hour along both the M1 and M25 as he tried to get away from the officers.
Douglas Page, prosecuting, said, “They pulled the vehicle over. An officer in full uniform got out. As soon as he reached the van, Mr Puncheon sped off. The officers gave chase. Mr Puncheon drove onto the M25 towards Watford, recording speeds in excess of 100 mph. He joined the M1 at junction 21 and headed north towards Luton, again in excess of 100 mph. A traffic unit joined the pursuit from junction 9, and he exited at junction 10, carrying onto Airport Way.”
Three police vehicles were involved in the chase, but Puncheon eventually smashed into a barrier and stopped his van; at this point, he was surrounded but reversed his van into one of the police cars before running off. He was chased and caught by one of the police officers and was arrested.
When breathalysed, his reading came in at 60; the legal limit is 35. He refused to comment when questioned by police. Puncheon pleaded guilty to drink driving, dangerous driving and having cocaine on his person; the court heard that this was his second drink-driving charge. His defence, Tim Clarke, said that Puncheon began abusing drugs at the age of seventeen and since then has developed a serious addiction. He provided references to the judge, which showed that Puncheon had been taking necessary steps towards overcoming his drug and alcohol addiction.
He was handed a twelve-month sentence, suspended for two years and ordered to carry out 200 hours of community service, along with ten days of rehabilitation. He was also ordered to pay £1,200 in prosecution fees and given a three-year driving ban in which he must complete an extended test before he is given a licence back. Recorder John Brooke-Smith explained, “This was a shocking piece of driving. It is a miracle no-one was hurt. It is made worse that you have a previous conviction in 2010. The feature of your case, which enables me to suspend the sentence, is that you appear to have recognised the challenges of alcohol and drug addiction and have taken steps to address it.”
Help and Support
For someone who is dealing with an addiction, it can be difficult to make sound decisions. Very often, their judgement and decision-making skills are clouded. You may find that you are in this position and are unsure of the correct steps to take in regards to overcoming the addiction for good. If this is the case, then get in touch with us here at Recovery Lighthouse. If you chose us for your addiction treatment, we would ensure that you feel comfortable and safe in our clinic while receiving the best possible help. If you have any queries or need further information, contact us today; we will be more than happy to help.
- Sentenced: Watford drink driver who led police on 20-mile chase before crashing into health centre (Watford Observer)