Drunk driver was asleep

A Palmerston North man drank so much alcohol before getting behind the wheel, he was found by police asleep at an intersection with the car engine running.

He also blew nearly twice the legal drink-drive limit.

In the Palmerston North District Court yesterday, Izaia Leslie James Burston pleaded guilty to drink-driving after being caught on May 23.

Police were called to the intersection of Salisbury Ave and Ruahine St in Palmerston North at 11.50pm after someone saw the 20-year-old asleep at the wheel of his car.

His car was on the road at the intersection with the engine running.

Police woke him and he blew a reading of 797 micrograms of alcohol per litre of breath. The legal limit is 400mcg.

He told police he had a few drinks at a mate's place.

Defence lawyer Phillip Drummond said Burston had learnt a lesson and was horrified he had drunk so much he had fallen asleep while driving.

He worked at a car yard, and his employer was "unhappy to say the least", Drummond said.

Judge Gerard Lynch asked Burston how his parents felt, to which he replied "pretty angry".

The judge said it was fortunate for anyone on the road at the time that Burston did fall asleep while the car was stationary, as he was a "menace" when behind the wheel with that much alcohol in his system.

"You would have known you were well, well over the limit. You and other young people need to get the message about drinking and driving, and putting people at risk.

"Fortunately, you are standing here in court, and your parents are not in a coronial court finding out exactly how you died in a car crash."

Burston was described as having a "scruffy" criminal history but the judge said he had no previous driving conditions. The judge fined him $800 and disqualified him from driving for seven months.

Manawatu Standard