Crash driver was 16 times ketamine limit
AN ENGINEER has narrowly avoided jail after crashing into a row of parked cars with three different illegal drugs in his system.
Calum McCullough, 24, from Stockport, had taken cocaine, ketamine and M-Cat – a synthetic stimulant – before the smash.
Manchester magistrates court heard how McCullough, a project engineer, was trying to reverse out of a road in Didsbury, when he crashed into seven parked cars.
The court was told that he’d had an argument with his girlfriend, and the pair have since split up.
Neighbours called the police, and officers found him ‘incapacitated’ behind the wheel on May 12.
They later discovered he had three different types of drug in his system, cocaine, M-Cat and ketamine.
He was over the legally prescribed limit for all three drugs, prosecutors said.
Blood tests for cocaine revealed McCullough had 14 microgrammes per litre of blood, when the legal ‘impairment’ limit is 10.
His reading for M-Cat was 389 microgrammes per litre of blood, more than seven times the limit of 50.
And his reading for ketamine was 330 microgrammes per litre of blood, when the legal limit is 20, which is 16-and-a-half times the legal limit.
McCullough, who was said to have used drugs on a daily basis, said he took more than his usual amount prior to the crash.
The court was told he has two previous convictions, both for possessing illegal drugs.
McCullough was charged with three counts of drug-driving, driving with no insurance and failing to notify a change of address.
He pleaded guilty before magistrates.
At a sentencing hearing, McCullough received a three-month prison sentence, suspended for 18 months.
He must also complete 200 hours of unpaid work and complete a 12 month drug rehabilitation program. He was also banned from driving for 30 months.
Damian Mullarkey, defending, said: “What I can’t get away from here is the three different and separate drugs in his system at the time of driving.
“I’m no mathematician but I have worked out he was at least 12 or 13 times the limit on both drugs.”
He told magistrates that McCullough’s job is well paid, and means he is ‘required to travel internationally on a frequent basis.’
“He can afford, rightly or wrongly, to fund that habit,” Mr Mullarkey said.
But he has incurred ‘significant’ debts, and hadn’t told his employers of his conviction, the court heard.
Mr Mullarkey said his client, who was said to have taken drugs to cope with stress at work, was ‘petrified’ of them finding out.
The lawyer added: “He is in a good job. He has very good prospects.
“He has a career for life if you permit him to continue his employment.
“This is not somebody who is a cocaine addict or a heroin addict.
“He has an addiction to what appears to be recreational drugs.”
Appealing for a suspended sentence to be imposed, Mr Mullarkey said McCullough, of Didsbury Road, Stockport, would ‘lose everything’ if he were to be jailed.
Sentencing, chair of the bench Michael Dunston said: “The people of Manchester need protection against this type of drugdriving.
“You are very lucky that people weren’t killed. This sort of behaviour won’t be tolerated.”
He added: “You have been extremely fortunate today.”
In 2015, ,the government introduced new laws to tackle drug driving. The new laws set out the acceptable levels of eight illegal drugs.
These limits were set at a low level, so cases where a driver claimed they had been accidentally exposed to the drug could be ruled out.
Earlier this year, it was revealed that about 25,000 motorists across England and Wales had been caught in the past three years since the new laws were introduced.
If drivers are pulled over and officers believe they are unfit to drive because due to taking drugs, they can be arrested and taken to a police station for tests.