A PIZZA shop worker lost control of his boss’s car and hit the front of a house.
It then ploughed into another car and shunted it over a drop into two more vehicles.
The house was damaged and all four cars were written off, a judge at Warwick Crown Court has heard.
But driver Valentin Manea, who had taken his boss’s car to go to buy cigarettes, escaped being jailed after pleading guilty to a charge of aggravated vehicle taking.
Instead Manea (28) of Oliver Street, Foleshill, Coventry, was sentenced to six months in prison suspended for 12 months, ordered to do 250 hours of unpaid work and banned from driving for 18 months.
Prosecutor John Evans said that on August 9, a Sunday, Manea finished work at Dominos Pizzas in Willenhall at around 11.30pm.
Manea, who had the key to his boss’s Peugeot 307 but no permission to drive it, “was driving at some speed along Princethorpe Way, and he lost control.”
Manea later claimed he hit something in the road, but accident investigators believed he hit the kerb.
“It caused him to go to his off-side, off the road, across the footpath and through a series of gardens before colliding with a Toyota Aygo parked on a driveway which is raised above another parking area.
“The impact was sufficient to throw the Aygo off the drive into one of the lower parked cars, a Hyundai, which in turn collided with a Fiesta, and the Peugeot came to rest part-on and part-off the raised driveway.
“It had also collided with the front of one of the houses, causing £1800 of damage, and all four cars, including the Peugeot, are described as write-offs.”
Both Manea and his passenger suffered cuts in the crash, and he got out of the wrecked car and walked back to Dominos where he told the manager what he had done.
The two of them returned to the scene, and Manea remained there until the police arrived and admitted being the driver.
When he was interviewed he said he had been given the car key so he could sit in it to keep warm while he had a cigarette.
But realising he was running low, he decided to drive to a shop to get another packet, only to find when he got there that he did not have enough money on him; and he was driving back along Princethorpe way at 40-45mph when he lost control of the car.
Rebecca Wade, defending, said: “He accepts this is a serious matter, but his actions after the incident were exceptional.
“While leaving the scene, he went to tell his manager what had happened and then returned and waited for the police.”
And Judge Richard Griffith-Jones accepted: “It is unusual for someone to behave as responsibly as he did.”
Miss Wade, who said Manea had been sacked, added: “It’s only by luck rather than judgement that no-one was seriously injured; but he has insight into what could have been much more serious consequences.”
Judge Griffith-Jones told Manea: “There were members of the public asleep in bed when the front of their house was damaged and two other households where cars were written off.
“…Mercifully personal injury was limited.
“A custodial sentence can be amply justified. But your post-offence behaviour demonstrated a degree of responsibility which stands very much to your credit.”