Van driver, Billy Hewitt, was two and a half times the drink-drive limit

St Albans & Harpenden Review: Van driver was two and a half times the drink-drive limit Van driver was two and a half times the drink-drive limit

A van driver, who caused a policeman and a club doorman to jump out of the way as he drove off at speed outside a St Albans night club, will be sentenced next month.

Billy Hewitt, 27, of White Hart Drive, Hemel Hempstead was convicted at St Albans Crown Court on Friday of dangerous driving in Victoria Street and Bricket Road, St Albans, on October 28, 2012.

The jury of nine women and three men were told that Police Sergeant Duncan Prior put his hand up to stop the van after he heard it crash into a parked taxi in Victoria Street.

But Hewitt ignored the officer and forced him and John Curtis to move out of the way.

Prosecutor Nick Bonehill said DS Prior was in his high visibility jacket on duty near the Havana nightclub at around half past one on the Sunday morning when he saw the van reverse at high speed into the taxi, which was parked at the junction of Victoria Street and Bricket Road.

"The van then accelerated off at speed into Bricket Road. It did a u-turn at the entrance to the police station and drove back. PS Prior put his hand up to try and get the vehicle to stop, but he didn't and it made PS Prior and Mr Curtis, a member of the club door staff, jump out of the way," said Mr Bonehill.

He said the van took off down Victoria Street towards the railway station, narrowly missing members of the public coming out of the club. It went on the wrong side of the road, nearly missed another taxi and jumped a red light, the jury was told.

The registration number was noted and the van was found in a parking bay at the rear entrance of St Albans Railway Station. Another police officer stopped Mr Hewitt, who was running down Alma Road near Telford Court.

He was arrested and, on his way to Hatfield police station, told officers: "That's my van. There are three or four others who have keys to it. I have a set on me."

Mr Bonehill said he gave a drink drive breath reading of 84 - nearly two and a half times over the limit.

He answered no comment in a police interview.

Judge Stephen Warner adjourned sentence for probation reports until February 14.

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