Man's 'anxiety attack' led to him drink driving - again

Last updated 08:15 13/12/2013

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A Rongotea man responded to an anxiety attack by driving when he was 2 times the legal alcohol limit - racking up his first drink-driving conviction in 16 years.

Nigel Campbell, 50, was drinking at a friend's house in September when he decided to leave.

He got in his car but crashed in Penny Rd, Rongotea.

Police were called, and he gave a breath-alcohol reading of 1034 micrograms - the legal limit for driving is 400mcg.

At his sentencing in the Palmerston North District Court yesterday, defence lawyer Paul Murray said it was Campbell's fourth drink-driving conviction, but his last three happened between 1993 and 1997.

That was a time when alcohol dominated Campbell's life, Mr Murray said.

He had since got his drinking back under control and was employed, but had struggled with depression.

Campbell had decided to drive home because he had an anxiety attack and wanted to get back to his "safe place".

Judge Gregory Ross said Campbell made the wrong choice.

"Anxiety is not to be solved in the bottom of a beer glass.

"If these anxiety attacks require you to drive back to your home address, that can only happen after a period of abstinence."

He sentenced Campbell to 300 hours' community work, 9 months' supervision and disqualified him from driving for 15 months.

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- © Fairfax NZ News


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