‘Zombie’ driver staggers police

A POLICE officer has told how a driver, found to be high on ketamine three times within the space of 15 days, was the worst he had ever seen.

Philip Reece had a ‘zombie vacant expression’ and was so out of it on the drug, used as a tranquilliser by vets, that he unable to answer basic questions like his date of birth or the prime minister’s name.

“I have never seen a person as intoxicated as Mr Reece,” Det Con Craig Brett told Bury St Edmunds magistrates. “I was staggered that he was able to drive at all bearing in mind that he could hardly keep his eyes open or stop the mucus sliding down his face.”

But when interviewed, Reece told police he felt perfectly safe to drive while Sarah Smeeth from the probation service told the court that because he only received a caution the first time, he thought it was not taken seriously by police.

The 20-year-old, of Bury Road, Brockley, was in court on Monday having admitted two charges of driving while unfit through drugs, one of being in charges of a vehicle while unfit, and one of drugs possession.

Sarah-Jane Atkins, prosecuting, said Reece was checked for drugs on February 4 after he struggled three times to pull over into a lay-by in Rougham Road, Bury.

A week later police saw Reece pull up in his car and sit with the engine running. He could not respond to anything police said. Then on February 19 police were called to the Hardwick Heath car park in Bury and again found Reece with his car and on drugs.

Miss Smeeth said Reece underestimated the effects of ketamine and had not taken the offence seriously.

But she added that ‘the penny is finally dropping.’

His solicitor, Claire Lockwood, said Reece had stopped taking ketamine and would not get the help he needs in prison.

He was given a two year driving ban, 12 months supervision, 100 hours of unpaid work and ordered to pay £85 costs.