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Whaley Bridge drink driver crashed burning car into field

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A record-breaking Whaley Bridge musician woke up in a cloud of smoke after drink-driving his flaming car into a field, dragging a lamppost with him, a court heard.

Simon Lewis, who holds a world record as part of the fastest marching band to complete a marathon, was seen to throw his tuba to safety, before running away to hide behind his lorry, which was parked nearby.

At High Peak Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday, the 34-year-old HGV driver admitted being more than two times over the limit, after denying the offence at his first hearing.

The brass band member had been playing a charity concert on March 15 at Rems Café Bar, in Chapel-en-le-Frith, consuming seven or eight pints afterwards.

The defendant, of New Road, said he had the intention of walking or getting a taxi home and had no recollection of getting back into his sister’s silver Peugeot 206, for which he is a named driver, to drive home.

Motorists called the police after seeing the vehicle collide into a lamppost, set alight and career into a field off the B5470 Manchester Road in Tunstead Milton at about 2.30am.

Prosecutor Jennifer Fitzgerald said at interview, Lewis said he had no idea what had happened, but awoke to the car filling with smoke, after the airbag had been deployed. When asked why he didn’t call the emergency services, he said it would have looked bad.

When breathalysed, he was found to have 79 microgrammes in 100 millilitres of breath. The legal limit is 35 microgrammes.

John Bunting, defending, said his client had helped the Marathon Band raise £150,000 for deaf blind charity Sense by playing at numerous fundraisers, as well as completing the London Marathon while playing his tuba in record time in April. He added that Lewis thinks he may have driven home because he didn’t want to leave his £10,000 tuba on view in the car.

Lewis was banned from driving for 12 months, fined £395 and ordered to pay a £35 victim surcharge and £105 court costs.

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