A VAN driver three times the drink drive limit when he ploughed into a pole at a pedestrian crossing at the entrance to the Asda supermarket in Coleraine was told he was lucky not to have killed somebody.
David Hall Christie (45), of Finvoy Road in Ballymoney, crashed last November after drinking whiskey in pubs in Portrush and driving to Coleraine.
At Coleraine Magistrates Court this week he pleaded guilty to charges including driving with excess alcohol; driving without due care and attention and failing to stop, remain and report a damage only accident.
A charge of dangerous driving was withdrawn.
The court heard a member of the public called police after seeing Christie hit the pedestrian crossing. A section of the van’s number plate was left behind at the scene.
When police spoke to Christie there was a bottle of alcohol in the van and he was slurring his words. He had a reading of 106 microgrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath – the legal limit is 35mcgs.
The defendant told police he had been drinking whiskey in two bars in Portrush and had driven to Asda but that he thought he had hit a bollard and was unaware he had struck a pedestrian crossing control panel.
He apologised and admitted to police his behaviour was “not good”.
A defence solicitor told Coleraine Magistrates Court the defendant had been drinking heavily since suffering a bereavement.
District Judge Liam McNally told Christie: “You can get as drunk as you like every day of the week if you like but you crossed a very serious line”.
Getting behind the wheel at three times the limit meant Christie had not only endangered his own life “but the lives of anybody you may have come across at the pedestrian crossing,” the judge said.
The judge added: “What might have happened is beyond contemplation”.
The defendant was given a four months prison term, suspended for two years; banned from driving for 18 months and fined.