Driver counts the cost of one New Year drink

Herald Series: Simon Lazarus Simon Lazarus

ONE drink to celebrate New Year cost delivery driver Simon Lazarus his driving licence, his job and almost his life.

On January 1 the 33-year-old, of Reynolds Way, Abingdon, tried to be a Good Samaritan by going out of his way to give a drunk woman a lift home.

But both he and his passenger ended up badly injured when his car overturned in Drayton Road, Abingdon, after he lost control of the vehicle.

He admitted drink driving and on Friday was told to pay a total of £120 and given a 12-month driving ban.

Oxford Magistrates’ Court heard that before the crash the father-of-two had been at a party in Didcot in the early hours of New Year’s Day.

His solicitor Alex Davis told the court his client usually doesn’t drink, but accepted a single whisky and coke after being persuaded by a friend.

Mr Davis said in the morning Lazarus left the party to call on a friend, who then asked him to pick up a woman who was very drunk and trying to walk home.

The court heard that his car was involved in an accident in Drayton Road at about 8.45am, which resulted Lazarus and his passenger both needing treatment at the John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford.

Mr Davis added that the female passenger considered Lazarus “something of a hero” after he pulled her from the car and kept her warm until paramedics arrived.

He said: “He had one drink all night and didn’t feel any effect, though he admits it may have been topped up by his friend without his knowledge.

“He had no idea at all that he was over the legal limit because he only had one drink and spread it out over several hours.

“One of his friend’s friends was on her way home and he goes to pick her up.

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“The cruel irony is that he was trying to make sure she made it home unhurt.”

He added that Lazarus did not remember anything about the crash, and could only recall accelerating to 45mph in a 50mph zone in Drayton Road.

Mr Davis said: “Then everything goes black and he can remember nothing until he is being treated by the emergency services.

“But it seems he managed to get out of the vehicle and got the passenger out of the car.”

Mr Davisclaimed Lazarus’ life had been “devastated” by his injuries and the driving ban he would now receive.

He said Lazarus was left with severe head trauma, post traumatic stress disorder, depression and anxiety attacks after the crash.

His passenger was described by Mr Davis as having a serious injury to one of her legs.

Chairman of the magistrates Jonathan Grosvenor said: “I am very sorry for the circumstances you find yourself in.

“But nonetheless you are facing a blood alcohol level of 97mg in 100ml of blood, above the legal limit of 80mg.

“And that is something which must carry a penalty.”

He said Lazarus would receive a £60 fine, and would have to pay £40 costs and a £40 victims’ surcharge.

He also has to take part in a drink driving rehabilitation course.

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