David Stuart

Teen driver falls asleep at wheel after drunk crash

A JUNCTION Hill teenager who fell asleep in his car after crashing it into a pole while drunk has faced the corresponding charge in court.

The P-Plater pleaded guilty to the high-range drink-driving offence in Grafton Local Court on Monday, which occurred in South Grafton in the early hours of June 23.

According to police facts, officers were investigating reports a car had crashed into a street sign in Spring St, South Grafton, when they found a grey hatchback with blown-out front tyres outside a Bent St Motel.

The accused was asleep in the passenger seat, and the engine was still warm.

When police woke him they noticed he was slurring his words heavily and there was a strong smell of liquor on his breath.

Police made four attempts to administer a roadside breath test as the accused kept sucking instead of blowing into the test.

When asked what was wrong with his car he said "There is nothing wrong with my car. I was asleep".

He was arrested and taken to Grafton Police Station, where a breath analysis read 0.153, and later told police he had been watching the State of Origin game at a Grafton hotel and drank four middies of beer.

At the crash scene at the corner of Spring and Bligh St, police found the Bligh St sign knocked down and two tyre gouge marks between a large tree and a power pole.

The evidence suggests the accused was driving east along Spring St when he crossed to the wrong side of the road and collided with the Bligh St sign.

Defence solicitor Greg Coombes acknowledged the offence was serious, saying the "facts are the facts".

He told the court the offender had hopes of one day pursuing a professional rugby career, and was also due to enter the Australian Defence Force in coming days.

He was concerned a conviction could affect his entry into the army.

Magistrate Robyn Denes said while the offence was somewhat serious there were no injuries, and the time the accused had already spent off the road would be taken into account.

He was convicted, fined $1200 and disqualified from driving for 12 months, but was made exempt from a mandatory alcohol interlock condition.



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