Former footballer Paul Merson 'held for drink-drive crash'

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Former England footballer Paul Merson was arrested on suspicion of drink-driving after a motorway crash, it emerged today.

The 43-year-old Sky Sports pundit was breathalysed at the roadside after his Mercedes collided with a lorry registered to the Ministry of Defence on the M40 near Warwick yesterday.

A spokeswoman for Warwickshire Police said the crash happened between junctions 14 and 15 of the northbound carriageway at 3.12am.

She added: "Following a roadside breath test, the 43-year-old male driver of the Mercedes was arrested on suspicion of driving with excess alcohol.

"He was taken to Warwick Hospital for treatment to a cut to the head. A blood sample was taken for analysis while at hospital and he was then de-arrested."

The spokeswoman said he was de-arrested rather than bailed because he had not been in police custody at a station, but stressed that the collision was still being investigated.

She said: "We await the results of the blood sample analysis."

Merson, formerly of Arsenal, Middlesbrough, Aston Villa and Portsmouth, told the Daily Mirror: "I fell asleep and just hit the central reservation. I banged my head on the windscreen and the car is a write-off.

"I'm very lucky to have survived. I managed to get out by myself and the emergency services were brilliant."

He was pictured leaving hospital with blood stains on the arms of his white shirt and cuts on his face. He appeared to have had stitches for one wound above his eyebrow.

It is believed the ex-footballer had been driving back to his home in Sutton Coldfield, Birmingham, from a charity event in aid of Children in Need in Battersea, south London.

An MoD spokesman said: "The Ministry of Defence can confirm that the vehicle (lorry) was registered to the Ministry of Defence."

A spokesman for Merson said: "Nothing has been proven yet and there is no further comment at this stage."