A couple today told of the horrifying moment a drunk driver almost destroyed their home when he careered into their front room.
Susan Nuttall, 62, was in bed when an out of control Jaguar X-Type smashed into the side of her Fylde home.
Driver Darren Byng had spent the night downing wine and shots before ploughing into the gable end of the Nuttall’s home in Thornton.
She said she heard a “terrible bang”, adding: “I was jolted forward on the bed, and I can’t explain the cracking noise the house made.
“I thought the house was falling down.”
Byng had crashed into the side of the house, straight into the chimney breast which came away from the wall inside the house on Myrtle Close.
HusbandBrian had an even luckier escape - he was in the front room, sitting opposite the fireplace.
“It was just a big shock,” he said.
“We all went outside to find out what had happened. It’s a miracle no-one was hurt.”
Now they have been left with a £40,000 repair bill and face months of upheaval while the work is carried out.
Byng, 45, was jailed for 12 months after he admitted
getting behind the wheel on February 6.
He pleaded guilty to aggravated vehicle taking, driving with excess alcohol, driving while disqualified and not having insurance.
Mrs Nuttall said: “Your home is your safe place, it’s where you want to be at the end of the day, but that night it wasn’t safe.
“Even now, when I’m upstairs and hear a loud bang or a loud car engine, I feel tense.
“He’s taken our safety away.”
The Nuttalls’ only comfort is that their two-year-old grandson Charlie, who lives with them, was in bed at the time – around 8.30pm – and not playing in front of the fireplace, as he would have otherwise been doing.
Mrs Nuttall added: “We’re so lucky in that respect. He could have been badly hurt.
“The fireman said the man had struck a concrete post
before he came into our garden, which slowed him down.
“If he hadn’t hit the post, he would have come into our living room. That’s a frightening thought.”
Mrs Nuttall said she could hear Byng trying to restart the engine after the accident, not realising the vehicle was
After a short time, he got out of the car and walked off down the road.
Mr and Mrs Nuttall, who have lived in their home since it was built 23 years ago, were told they couldn’t stay at the house until emergency
support was put in place around the outside.
They spent two weeks living with family in Bispham
before the house could be made safe with scaffolding, which is still in place.
The repairs are now in the hands of insurance companies, but is likely to cost around £40,000.
Mr and Mrs Nuttall, their daughter Katie and Charlie will have to move out once
repair work begins.
They have no idea when that will be, or how long it is likely to take.
Mrs Nuttall said: “They need to knock down the chimney breast and the wall around it, and they don’t know if there’s any damage inside that we’ve not seen yet.
“We just don’t know.”
The court heard Byng, of Crookall Close, Fleetwood, had previously been disqualified from driving for five years, and hadn’t resit his test, so wasn’t allowed on the road.
His defence lawyer, Paul Robinson, said he had a drink problem and had tended to consume 50 pints and many shots a week.
Mr Robinson added he had since taken significant steps to cut his drinking and had sought help from his doctor.
Judge Jacqueline Beech also banned Byng from driving for five years and ordered he take an extended test
before he gets behind the wheel in future.