A Fochabers man has been jailed for eight months and banned from driving for six years after twice being caught under the influence of alcohol.
Alan Hunter, 54, appeared at Elgin Sheriff Court via video link from HMP Inverness.
He’d previously pled guilty to the offences, the first one taking place around 5pm on November 12 this year on the A98 Buckie to Fochabers road.
Hunter was seen behind the wheel of his white Ford transit van after a concerned member of the public followed the “erratic” driver along the A98.
Fiscal depute Victoria Silver said he had been swerving, crossing lanes and mounting grass verges along the route.
‘Erratic’ driver Alan Hunter was reported by a concerned witness on the A98 Buckie to Fochabers road
The witness followed Hunter for around 10 miles, she told the court.
They alerted the police and then noticed that Hunter had “failed to negotiate” temporary traffic lights and had “gone through” after hitting the safety equipment.
Eventually, Hunter came to a stop – the court heard – and was found to be under the influence of alcohol.
“He made attempts to drive away, but the witness removed the keys from the ignition,” Ms Silver explained.
Fochabers man Alan Hunter refused to be tested for alcohol after his arrest on the A98
Police officers then arrived and breathalysed the irresponsible driver who returned a positive breath test result for alcohol.
Hunter was taken to Elgin police station, where he refused to give further samples.
Ms Silver told the court had been “sucking” the testing device instead of blowing into it.
Just five days later, at 8pm on November 17, Hunter was pulled over by patrolling police officers after they saw him driving a blue Ford Mondeo erratically in Fochabers.
“They noted that he had reversed from a driveway on Milne Road, and then failed to stop at lights,” Ms Silver said, adding: “They followed him for a short while and he stopped halfway up Slorachs Brae”.
Alan Hunter’s lawyer begged for him to be tagged instead of jailed
The officers spoke to Hunter after recognising the “strong smell of alcohol emitting from him” and he replied that he had consumed “three beers”.
His defence agent Iain Maltman told the court that his client had been grieving the loss of a grandson and had been experiencing “very low moods”.
Mr Maltman said Hunter was now “very remorseful and apologetic” and asked the sheriff to consider an electronic tag instead of jail.
But Sheriff Gordon Fleetwood said he had sympathy for his family’s bereavement but added: “As soon as you get behind the wheel of a car, that sympathy evaporates”.
He sentenced Hunter to a total of eight months in prison and banned him from driving for six years and seven months.
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