Drunk driver drove Transit for 28 miles without tyres as sparks flew everywhere

A man was spotted cruising down a major road with only two tyres on his van for 28 miles.

Tony Holmwood managed to drive his transit van from west of Hexham to the A1 in Newcastle with the nearside wheels missing rubber, sending sparks flying from the tarmac and leaving scrape marks on the road.

The 28-year-old had been drinking before the May 11 incident and the van lurched from left to right on a dual carriageway and even dropped debris as it made its journey, reports ChronicleLive.

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By the time the vehicle came to a stop the van had also lost the front rim of its wheels and had only spokes left.

Police breathalysed Holmwood and found he was almost twice the drink drive limit.

He said when he left his Gateshead home the van had all of its tyres but by the time he got to Catton, west of Hexham, he had only two left, Newcastle Crown Court heard.

However he kept driving until he was stopped by police.

The 28-year-old's antics were spotted by an ambulance driver who watched as vehicle slalomed along the 70mph A69.

Neil Pallister, prosecuting, said: "The ambulance driver followed the van and noticed the van's front end was low to the ground and was leaving a scratch mark on the road surface and was swerving from left to right.

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"The van was doing between 40 and 60mph and it sped up then slowed down. Further along the A69 the ambulance driver could smell what he thought were burning brake pads or clutch.

"As he continued on the A69 it became obvious there were sparks coming from the front nearside wheel while the tyre had gone and it was being driven on the rim."

As the van crossed the stretch of road between Heddon-on-the-wall and Throckley, pieces of debris fell off and landed on the road as it swerved from left to right.

A traffic police officer waited near the junction with the A1 after receiving reports of the dangerous driving.

"At 1.38am the officer heard a loud scraping noise, metal scraping on concrete," Mr Pallister continued.

"He saw the van driving and noticed sparks coming from both nearside wheels and the van was leaning heavily to the nearside and was being driven at slow speed.

"It was driving on two wheels with smoke coming from the nearside. The front rim had come off, leaving just the spokes and there was no tyre on either nearside wheel. The defendant was clearly under the influence of alcohol when he got out."

Holmwood pleaded guilty to dangerous driving and driving with excess alcohol and was sentenced to nine months suspended for 12 months with rehabilitation and 150 hours of unpaid work.

He was also banned from driving for 18 months and will have to sit an extended re-test.

Rachel Hedworth, defending, said: "Mr Holmwood is horrified by his actions. This is the type of behaviour he would find abhorrent and he would be extremely concerned about anyone taking the kind of action he did."

Miss Hedworth added there was a "realistic prospect of rehabilitation" and said a prison sentence would have an impact on those close to Holmwood, who was scared at the prospect of going to jail.

"He knows he only has himself to blame and feels extreme guilt at the position he has put his family in," she said.

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