A DRINK driver who broke his neck after his car ‘drifted’ into the path of an oncoming vehicle whilst he was on a trip to get ‘fast food’ is lucky to be alive, a defence solicitor said.
Stephen Martin (58), of Ballyveely Road, Loughgiel, appeared at Coleraine Magistrates Court for sentencing after admitting driving without due care and attention in a vehicle which was in a dangerous condition.
He had also pleaded guilty to driving with excess alcohol in his blood at Lough Road and Corkey Road in Loughgiel; using a Nissan Almera without insurance and an MOT offence.
He was more than twice the drink drive limit with an alcohol in blood reading of 186 – with the legal limit being 80.
A prosecutor said there had been a two vehicle road collision at Lough Road earlier this year.
The driver of the other vehicle said he was going down Lough Road when an oncoming vehicle “drifted” into his path and he was unable to take evasive action.
Defence solicitor Stewart Ballentine said the defendant had mental health issues and his son was his main carer and “would be his rock” but at the time the son was elsewhere.
The lawyer said the defendant’s life was at a “very low ebb” and he had taken the car a short distance to go to Loughgiel to get “fast food”.
The solicitor said that thankfully the person in the other vehicle was “not injured” but Martin had broken his neck, had severe head injuries and was “lucky to be here”.
Mr Ballentine said the defendant wished to apologise and the car, which had been bought with a view to fixing it up and selling on, should never have been on the road.
The court heard the defendant, who is on benefits, had a previous conviction for being in charge of a vehicle with excess alcohol.
District Judge Peter King said the alcohol level was more than twice the legal limit and he banned Martin from driving for two years along with fines of £600.