A WOMAN had to run for her life when a drunk- driver in an articulated lorry tried to do a U-turn on a busy main road and smashed into the bus shelter she was standing in.

Blackburn magistrates heard Andrew George Grove drove off after the collision which was seen by another HGV driver who described his attempted manoeuvre as ‘impossible’.

Catherine Allan, prosecuting, said: “The bus stop was completely demolished and the woman inside would have been crushed if she hadn’t been able to get clear.”

When police arrested Grove he was found to be more than three times the legal drink drive limit.

Grove, 59, of Rockliffe Avenue, Bacup, pleaded guilty to driving with excess alcohol and failing to stop after the accident in Rishton.

He was remanded on bail for the preparation of a pre-sentence report with a warning that all options including custody would be open to the sentencing bench.

Miss Allan said the incident occurred at 6.30 pm on Blackburn Road, near the Esplanade.

The witness, a qualified HGV driver, looked on in horror as Grove attempted a U-turn. When he drove off the witness pursued him, pulled in front of him and caused him to stop before taking him back to the scene.

Miss Allan, who revealed Grove had a previous drink drive conviction in 1997, said Grove gave a reading of 122 microgrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath compared to the legal limit of 35 microgrammes.

Aftab Bakhat, defending, said it was conceded the magistrates would require a pre-sentence report before sentencing.

“During his interview he conceded he has a drink problem and that needs to be investigated,” said Mr Bakhat.

Miles Parkinson, leader of Hyndburn Council and county councillor for the area, said: “This highlights what can happen when drinking and driving, especially in such a large vehicle which can cause untold damage.

“It’s fortunate that the woman in the bus stop had the ability to get away.

“To take the wheel of any vehicle when under the influence of alcohol is seriously irresponsible.”

Gary Rae, senior campaigner for Brake, the road safety charity, said: “This is a dreadful case and it was pure chance that the woman was not killed or seriously injured.

“Selfish drink drivers can destroy lives and inflict appalling suffering, and it’s entirely preventable.

“There can never be an excuse for getting behind the wheel after drinking alcohol, of any amount. Even one small drink makes you much more likely to crash.

“Our message is clear: never drink and drive - not a drop.”