A driver who “swerved and veered” along Scottish motorways for 16 miles while swigging from a beer can before crashing into another car has been jailed for 18 months.
Robert Przydatek’s dangerous driving, which ended when he ploughed his heavy Volvo V60 into a Ford Fiesta near the Kincardine Bridge put a passenger in the car he hit in hospital with an arm broken in five places.
Stirling Sheriff Court heard that the incident began when Przydatek (44), left his work about 5pm in Bo’ness on April 23 last year.
The father-of-two, whose wife and children were abroad, had been drinking and continued to swallow beer from a can as he set off for his home in nearby Grangemouth.
Prosecutor Laura Knox said his car was being driven erratically, and veering from lane to lane.
Another motorist was so concerned that he began to follow, and phoned police in horror.
Mrs Knox said the other driver gave police constant updates on Przydatek’s location and the manner of his driving.
As he followed, he saw Przydatek’s car mount the pavement near the gates of the Ineos oil refinery in Grangemouth, before re-joining the road, weave along the busy main street in nearby Polmont, career between a line of cones and the hard shoulder on a contraflow section of the M9, and collide with the central reservation of the M876.
Mrs Knox said Przydatek “could be seen through the tinted windows of his Volvo drinking from a metal can”.
After hitting the central reservation he pulled across onto the hard shoulder of the M876, stopped, and set off on foot down an embankment to relieve himself.
Mrs Knox said the driver who was following him pulled up behind him and was considering taking the keys out of his ignition when he saw Przydatek “re-emerge from the embankment, sorting the zip of his trousers”.
Przydatek then set off again towards the Kincardine Bridge, but “appeared to become disoriented” as he went four times round the Higgins Neuk roundabout on the south side of the bridge before colliding with the kerb, mounting a traffic island, and veering into the opposite carriageway in the face of oncoming traffic, when he then collided with the Ford Fiesta in which the man he injured, Gordon Stewart, was a passenger.
The Fiesta was forced off the road by the collision, and Mr Stewart (56), suffered an arm broken in five places, for which he required surgery and a plate inserted.
Przydatek, who seemed “dazed”, was taken out of his car by other motorists and placed on the pavement until police arrived, when he was handcuffed and arrested.
Przydatek, of Avonbank Avenue, Grangemouth, pleaded guilty to driving dangerously and after consuming nearly two-and-a-half times the legal limit of alcohol.
Defence solicitor Gordon Addison said Przydatek, who was a produce packer at Caledonian Produce in Bo’ness, “had been drinking, but was by no means grossly intoxicated”.
He said: “It’s very odd. I can’t offer and explanation, so I’m not going to try.”
He added: “At the time of the incident his family were abroad.”
Imposing the jail term, Sheriff Wyllie Robertson told Przydatek he had been guilty of “an episode of sustained dangerous driving aggravated by the fact that at the time you were considerably over the limit”.
He added: “You were also drinking during the course of this journey.”
The sheriff added that Przydatek was fortunate that he was not before the High Court, which deals with cases of causing death by dangerous driving.
He said: “Only a custodial sentence is appropriate.”
Przydatek was ordered to re-sit his test before getting back on the road after his release.