Drug driver who caused two smashes in two days is jailed for five months

Ballymena Courthouse6
Ballymena Courthouse.

A drug driver who crashed a car into a hedge then took to the road the next day when he smashed through a fence and had to be cut out by the Fire Service and taken to hospital.

A judge jailed William James McLaughlin (25), whose address was listed as Ards Drive in Monkstown, for five months and banned him from the road for five years.

District Judge Nigel Broderick, told the defendant at Ballymena Magistrates Court: “To say that this driving was atrocious is an understatement.”

He said McLaughlin was a “danger” to himself and other members of the public.

The judge said the defendant had three previous entries of a similar nature and then in February this year he was arrested for driving offences and released but the next day he “drove through a red light”, “tailgates” vehicles and smashed through a fence causing £5,400 worth of damage.

The defendant had previously admitted charges of driving whilst unfit at Tobar Park in Cullybackey relating to February 15 this year and also admitted driving whilst unfit and dangerous driving relating to Ballymena Road in Doagh on February 16.

A prosecutor said that at 8pm on February 15McLaughlin had driven into a hedge and then reversed into a parked car and a test at Antrim PSNI Station showed he had a number of drugs in his system including cannabis and Xanax.

The defendant told police had taken medication and had been warned by his doctor about driving.

The prosecuting lawyer said that at 6pm the following day police were called to a collision at Ballymena Road in Doagh where a vehicle had crashed through a fence causing extensive damage totalling £5,400.

McLaughlin had to be cut from the vehicle by Fire Service and taken to Antrim Area Hospital.

A witness said the defendant had been travelling too fast and had driven straight into a fence and telephone post.

Another witness said McLaughlin had driven through a red light and was travelling at speed close behind other vehicles.

A blood sample at hospital indicated a “high level” of Alprazolam.

The defendant told police he couldn’t remember anything “due to the crash”.

A defence lawyer said her client has now commenced treatment with Community Addictions.

She said McLaughlin’s grandfather died last December and having lived with him until he was 20 her client had had a very close relationship with him.

However, after the death the defendant “began abusing drugs”.

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