Radio presenter ran off after drunken car crash
A PRESENTER at a community radio station has been jailed for crashing his sports car while drink-driving, then fleeing the scene of the accident.
Fulton Chiota, better known to listeners of Ujima radio as Caspa, had been drinking following news that his grandmother – who a court heard was "instrumental" in his life – was terminally ill.
The 26-year-old, of Belroyal Avenue, Brislington, crawled out of his Audi TT before leaving the scene of the crash near the Clifton Triangle on July 22.
At Bristol Magistrates' Court yesterday Chiota pleaded guilty to drink driving, driving without insurance and failing to stop after a road accident. He was jailed for 15 weeks.
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The court heard that Chiota, who is also a rapper and music producer, had drunk enough brandy to leave him almost four times over the legal driving limit.
He told police he had only meant to move the car from Clifton Triangle to a safer place to park. But after turning into Charlotte Street, witnesses said they heard a loud bang before seeing Chiota crawl out of his overturned car following a collision involving three vehicles.
Chiota abandoned the "smoking vehicle" and headed for Hill Street where he was later found by police.
Prosecuting, Andrea Edwards said: "When police found him he looked slightly confused. He smelt strongly of alcohol and was unsteady on his feet."
Chiota was found to have 127 micrograms of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath: the legal limit for driving is 35 micrograms.
Chiota told police he was "in shock" and "drunk" at the time of the crash, which caused damage costing £5,176 to repair to a parked Peugeot 106, Peugeot 206 and Vauxhall Corsa.
He described himself as being 'eight out of ten in a scale of drunkenness' and told police he had no recollection of the actual crash.
Marjorie Jackson, mitigating, told the court that Chiota deeply regretted the incident.
She said: "He made it clear in interview that he is full of remorse. I must say that he does most definitely regret what he has done.
"It was a high reading and it crosses the threshold for custody but the court should be mindful that this is a very young man, of only 26 years."
Mrs Jackson went on to explain how Chiota had heard of his grandmother's terminal illness, and had been drinking to deal with the emotion prior to the accident.
She said: "His grandmother was an instrumental part of his life. That was the underlying reason to why he was drinking. He knows that is not an excuse but it is the reason why."
Mrs Jackson brought to the magistrates' attention Chiota's good work in the community through his voluntary Saturday appearances on the St Paul's- based radio station. She also told the court that he was an important man in the life of his disabled brother.
Presiding magistrate Robert Bennett told Chiota: "The charges against you are so serious that it takes you up to a level where imprisonment is unavoidable".
"You also had no insurance and left the scene of the accident. You left three drivers with extreme concern and costs and all you did was run away."
Mr Bennett handed Chiota 15 weeks in jail for driving while over the limit and 15 weeks for failing to stop after an accident, with both sentences to be served at the same time.