An Audi driver who broke his back when he crashed to avoid a pheasant ended up in the dock on a drug-driving charge.

Kevin Wallington, 57, spent two months in hospital in the wake of the crash on Fencott Road, near Murcott, between Oxford and Bicester, on April 2.

Firefighters pulled him from the Audi A4 before paramedics allowed police officers to carry out their usual tests to check whether the driver was impaired.

He tested positive for cocaine and, later, blood sample taken at the hospital showed she was over the legal limit for cocaine and its bye-product benzoylecgonine.

Appearing in the dock at Oxford Magistrates’ Court on Thursday (October 19), Wallington, of Leiden Road, Oxford, pleaded guilty to two counts of drug driving. He had 12 previous convictions, but nothing for drug driving that would aggravate the offending.

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Defending, David Pallett said his client had swerved to avoid a deer before pausing after an interruption from the dock.

“Apologies,” the advocate said. “A pheasant. That is why the car rolled.”

There was no evidence that his client was incapable of driving through intoxication. “He simply took avoiding action,” Mr Pallett said.

Wallington’s back was broken in the crash and, the court heard, he contracted sepsis as a result and ‘nearly died’.

The defendant was in visible pain on Thursday, standing in the dock rather than sitting down.

He had spent almost 24 hours in the cells, having been arrested on a court warrant issued when Wallington failed to attend an earlier hearing. The letter informing him of the hearing date had gone to an old address.

Wallington was fined £120, disqualified from driving for a year-and-a-half and was ordered to pay £133 in costs and surcharge.