A DRUNK-DRIVER smashed into parked cars then crashed into a taxi as he careered through a Canvey housing estate while more than three times the limit.

Christopher Ball, also drove into the path of taxi driver Nigel Warren, in Link Road, Canvey, causing him to crash.

Mr Warren, 50, who was working for Steve’s Taxis, suffered head injuries and had to be taken to Southend Hospital.

Southend Magistrates’ Court heard Ball, of Link Road, Canvey, had 263 milligrams of alcohol in 100 millilitres of blood when he drove his Vauxhall Corsa into a Ford Focus in Papenburg Road, Canvey, before hitting a BMW Mini in nearby Link Road.

The legal limit is 80 milligrams.

Police were called after Ball, 30, was seen driving erratically through residential streets at about 8.30pm in Papenburg Road.

Lesley Chipps, prosecuting, said: “A witness heard a bang outside and saw a car had struck a Ford Focus, forcing it into a mature tree.

“At that point, the driver did stop and was seen reversing the car, which stood stationary for a minute, before he drove off slowly.”

While officers were searching for the drunk driver, Ball drove on the wrong side of the road towards a Mini and crashed into the back of it, before driving away.

Then, just after 9pm, he crashed with Mr Warren’s taxi, writing it off.

Ball admitted drink-driving, driving without due care and attention, failing to report an accident on Papenburg Road, failing to report an accident on Link Road and failing to stop after crashing into the Mini, on April 6 this year.

Simon Samuels, mitigating, told the court Ball was suffering mental health issues and battled to control depression.

He said: “It takes a very brave person to recognise problems in one’s own life. He was brave enough to recognise them prior to the incident and has been brave enough to try again.”

The court heard Ball had not drunk alcohol since the incident.

He was sentenced to a 12- month supervision order, must go on a drink-driving course for ten days and carry out 180 hours unpaid work. He was also banned from driving for 24 months.

Christine Robinson, chairman of the bench, told Ball: “Because of the personal mitigation Mr Samuels has put forward today and because you are a man of good character, we will not be giving a custodial sentence.”

He was also ordered to pay £85 costs and £60 victim surcharge.