Motorist three-and-a-half times drink limit in Portglenone was ‘near death’s door’

A MAN who was three and a half times the drink drive limit after coming to police attention in Portglenone had to be taken from a PSNI custody suite to an intensive care unit where he was “near death’s door”.

At Ballymena Magistrates Court, Eamon Rocks (59), of Chesney Crescent, Portglenone, admitted a charge of driving with excess alcohol.

A prosecutor said that at 7.30pm on September 12 police saw a vehicle driving very slowly, stopping and starting, on a number of occasions at Main Street Portglenone.

When spoken to the defendant admitted to officers he had been drinking earlier.

When taken to Antrim Police Station he had an alcohol in breath reading of 118 – the legal limit is 35.

Defence solicitor Stewart Ballentine accepted it was high reading but said the defendant had, until this week, a clear record and had been driving for 35 years.

“Unfortunately due to lockdown and other personal cirumstances he appears to have taken alcohol,” the lawyer said.

The court heard the defendant was employed by the Education Authority and his work involves “going round various schools”.

On the date in question,the defendant took his car to go and purchase some groceries instead of walking a short distance.

Mr Ballentine said the incident had been “a considerable wake-up call” for the defendant as when arrested he had to taken from the custody suite to hospital and was “near death’s door”.

The court heard the defendant has booked into a rehab centre.

Ballymena Court was also told that the day before the court sitting the defendant had been given an 18 months driving ban for a “similar offence” which had been detected on July 9.

At Ballymena Court, where the defendant was present via a video link from his solicitor’s office, he was given a three year driving ban and a £400 fine.

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