A MAN was almost four times the drink drive limit when his car hit a bank and flew through the air into a field in the Cloughwater Road area at Craigywarren.
The driver had previously pleaded guilty to charges of dangerous driving and driving with excess alcohol in breath after a court heard his vehicle “sailed into the air – rising 20ft”.
Stewart Wright (46), with an address previously listed as Slievenanee Drive in Cargan – but now given as Carlston Avenue in the Cultra area of north Down – was involved in a collision on July 6 this year.
The case was back at Ballymena Magistrates Court this week for sentencing. A prosecutor said police were tasked to a ‘damage only road traffic collision’ at the junction of Cloughwater Road and Cushendall Road.
Police saw a Seat Leon and a male slumped over the steering wheel. No injuries were observed.
The defendant was alone in the vehicle and failed a preliminary breath test and later at Antrim Police Station he gave an alcohol in breath reading of 135 micrograms of alcohol per 100ml of breath – the legal limit is 35.
The prosecutor said another vehicle was at the scene and the two occupants in it were uninjured.
A defence lawyer said there had been a bend in the road and after colliding with a bank Wright’s car ended up in a field.
The defence lawyer said the defendant had a previous conviction in 2013 in England for drink driving.
In relation to the Cloughwater Road, the lawyer said “the whole matter was a blank” to the defendant who had no recollection of what happened.
The lawyer said the vehicle was “written off” after going through a “farmer’s fence”.
The lawyer said the defendant, a former dentist, had “mental health problems, alcohol overuse and gambling addiction”.
He said the defendant had worked as a dentist for ten years in England and after being detected drink driving he came back to Northern Ireland and moved to County Antrim and got a job working in a meat factory.
The lawyer said the defendant is now back living with his family in the Cultra area and appreciates he needs help for his issues.
District Judge Nigel Broderick said it had been a serious matter.
He told Wright: “You are quite lucky you didn’t kill yourself and other people. Your reading was dangerously high and it is not the first time you have been involved with vehicles and alcohol”.
The defendant was banned from driving for four years; ordered to do 60 hours of Community Service and put on Probation for a year with a condition to engage in an alcohol treatment programme.