A CONVICTED drink and drug driver who left three passengers injured, one seriously, after a high-speed crash has been granted leave to apply for an early restoration of his licence.

Lewis John Stores was given a 32-month prison sentence at Durham Crown Court in November 2017 after admitting causing serious injury by dangerous driving, plus drink and drug driving

Stores, then 20, was also banned from driving for 52 months and was told he must pass an extended driving test before he can legally get behind the wheel of a vehicle in future.

The court was told there was an element of “showing off” to younger passengers when he said “watch this” before driving at up to 100-miles per hour on roads in Spennymoor, ignoring requests to slow down.

He finally lost control of the Ford Focus, demolishing fencing and other street furniture before ploughing into a bus shelter, on Clyde Terrace, Spennymoor.

He and his front seat passenger fled, leaving two others injured in the back seats.

One of them suffered multiple fractures and other injuries, and was airlifted for emergency surgery at Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary.

The court heard that the accident took place when Stores drove from a house party to a filling station to buy more drink in the early hours of April 2, 2017.

When he was arrested, at his home in excess of two hours after the crash, he was more than double the limit for alcohol to legally drive.

Stores, now 23, appeared back before the court on Friday, when he applied for the disqualification to be reduced to enable him to legally drive again.

He told the court that having served a “substantial part” of the ban he needs to drive to get to work as a self-employed bricklayer.

Stores said is on a long-term contract working at a care home site in Delves Lane, Consett, and needs to travel daily from his home in Woodhouse Close, Bishop Auckland.

He said he has to rely on lifts from two colleagues, on a rota system, who are inconvenienced by the arrangement as both live some distance from Bishop Auckland.

Stores said being able to legally drive again would help his family as his partner is expecting their first child.

Judge James Adkin said he had read an encouraging probation report outlining Store’s progress on licence since his release from prison.

“The document from the Probation Service bears out what Mr Stores’ says.

“He is in full-time employment, there have been no concerns about any offending behaviour and he’s moved away from the peer group he was in.

“It appears he has demonstrated a commitment to rehabilitation and that should be promoted if young men have turned their lives around.

“I’m confident he has turned a different chapter in his life and thanks to his behaviour on licence I’m prepared to reduce the disqualification.”

Judge Adkin, therefore, reduced the period of the ban, which is not due to expire until November next year, to the end of this month, on Friday.

Stores will then be free to apply for the return of his licence but he was told he must then pass an extended re-test to legally drive again.