A MAN has been jailed for nine months for driving a road sweeper dangerously while over the alcohol limit.

Ariel Babiarz, 29, pleaded guilty to the offences at Bradford Crown Court and was also banned from the roads for three years and 18 weeks.

The court was told that on Saturday March 9 Babiarz was driving a road sweeper on the B6480 in High Bentham when he was in collision with a red Volkswagen Lupo. The collision caused the Lupo to roll onto its side, leaving the female driver with a number of injuries including fractured ribs. She was taken to Airedale Hospital, near Keighley, for treatment.

Babiarz initially stopped at the scene of the collision, but then left in the road sweeper before police arrived. He drove off and joined the A65 heading towards Austwick, when he was involved in another collision. This time, the road sweeper was tipped onto its side and Babiarz himself was injured, suffering a fractured ankle, ribs and vertebra.

He was also taken to Airdale Hospital for treatment, where a sample of blood was taken for analysis. It showed he had 146 milligrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of blood - the legal limit being 80.

When interviewed by a roads policing officer, Babiarz later admitted that he had drunk nearly a litre of rum the night before.

Speaking about the sentence handed to Babiarz, investigating officer traffic constable Andy Ingram said: “This is a case I will never forget. With the size and weight of the vehicle that Babiarz was driving, it’s only by sheer miracle that a life was not lost that day.

“To drink drive and be involved in one collision and then carry on – onto a major road - and cause other vehicles to take evasive action and swerve out of the way, just shows a total disregard for other people’s safety.

“This case also highlights that to drink drive; it’s not a case of just having a drink and getting straight behind the wheel. The effects of alcohol can be felt in your driving ability and the speed of your reaction times for a long time after consuming it.

“Always ensure you are safe to drive and don’t assume that because you had a drink the night before, you are safe to drive the next morning. Ensure you have given it enough time for the alcohol to leave your system before getting behind the wheel, or you to could soon find yourself in court."