Derby's Tom Lawrence and Mason Bennett plead guilty to drink-driving and failing to stop after crash

Players ordered to carry out 180 hours of unpaid work, given a 12-month community order and disqualified from driving for two years

Tom Lawrence arrives at Derby Magistrates' Court 1:29
Derby pair Tom Lawrence and Mason Bennett have avoided prison after they admitted drink-driving over a crash which left their club captain seriously injured

Derby's Tom Lawrence and Mason Bennett have pleaded guilty to drink-driving and failing to stop at the scene of an accident on September 24.

The pair were charged last month after their cars were involved in a crash on a Derbyshire road following a team-building night out.

Lawrence and Bennett appeared at Southern Derbyshire Magistrates Court on Tuesday, where they were ordered to carry out 180 hours of unpaid work, given a 12-month community order and disqualified from driving for two years.

Both were previously fined six weeks' wages by Derby and given 80-hour community service orders for breaking a curfew and bringing the Championship club into disrepute.

The court heard that Wales international Lawrence had hit Bennett's car before colliding with a road sign.

Paramedics attended the scene and treated Derby captain Richard Keogh, who was a passenger in one of the cars.

Keogh was later ruled out for the rest of the season after sustaining a "serious knee injury" in the crash.

Both Bennett and Lawrence initially left the scene before returning later in the night.

The pair took breathalyser tests, which showed that Bennett's alcohol level was at 64 microgrammes per 100 millilitres of breath, with Lawrence displaying 58mcg per 100ml. The legal limit in England is 35mcg per 100ml.

District Judge Jonathan Taaffee warned the players that a prison sentence was an option but the men walked free from court after probation services told the hearing of concerns they would struggle in custody.

"You are extremely fortunate to be here today," said Taaffee.

"You had been drinking and have been involved in a road traffic collision that could have led to death."

He added: "You are both intelligent and talented young men who have brought shame upon yourselves, your family, your profession and your club."

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