Driver's blood-alcohol level five times the limit

CAROLINE KING
Last updated 05:00 07/09/2012

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A Canterbury man who crashed head on into a van in Kaiapoi was found to be more than five times the drink-driving limit.

Police believe it is the worst drink-driving level recorded in Canterbury, and possibly the second worst in New Zealand history. Senior Constable Mike Farrall said it was incredible no-one was injured in the crash, in Ohoka Rd on August 16, where they found the man "incoherent".

The 34-year-old, a business owner, drove over a traffic island into oncoming traffic and hit a van about 3.10pm, he said. He believed the man had been drinking at his home nearby. Both vans were written off, he said.

Farrall said it was "incredibly lucky" the drivers, or bystanders, were not injured. There were high school students walking home in the area at the time.

The man was taken to Christchurch Hospital for a blood-alcohol test. "He couldn't even say a word. He couldn't seem to comprehend anything, or say anything," Farrall said.

The results showed the man was more than five times the legal limit. He had 406 milligrams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood. The limit is 80mg.

"I've been in the police 16 years, that would be the highest I've dealt with or heard of. I think the odd one comes along once in a while but it's certainly an eye-opener for most police. It's a ridiculous level of alcohol. You'd have to have built up a tolerance to alcohol I would suspect," Farrall said.

In February, a Whangarei teacher was convicted of drink-driving after recording 424mg of alcohol per 100 mls of blood. Concerned motorists confiscated her keys when she stopped at the lights after she had been weaving from lane to lane.

The man has been charged with dangerous driving and excess breath alcohol. He is to appear in Rangiora District Court on September 19.

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- The Press

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