Farmer caught out driving drunk on ride-on mower

Drunk on beer and rum, Hayden Macdonald was caught riding a lawnmower on a state highway earlier this month.(FILE PHOTO)
JIM RICE

Drunk on beer and rum, Hayden Macdonald was caught riding a lawnmower on a state highway earlier this month.(FILE PHOTO)

A grossly intoxicated driver has admitted to hooning along a state highway behind the wheel of a ride-on lawnmower.

After a day out pig-hunting, farmer Hayden James Shayne Macdonald was drinking with friends in north Taranaki.

About 12.35am on June 5, the 28-year-old was seen driving a Husqvarna ride-on lawnmower south on State Highway 3 in Motunui, near Waitara.

The stretch of road has a 100 kilometre per hour speed limit and no street lighting.

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Sergeant Lewis Sutton said one of Macdonald's friends was a passenger on the mower.

"The defendant only stopped after getting the lawnmower stuck driving into gravel on the side verge on State Highway 3," he said.

When Macdonald was spoken to by police, he admitted he had been riding the lawnmower on the road.

He was then evidentially tested by an officer and returned a result of 1191 micrograms of alcohol per litre of breath, close to five times more than the legal limit of 250 mcg.

"In explanation the defendant stated that he had borrowed his friend's lawnmower and was just having a good time," Sutton said. 

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Macdonald pleaded guilty to a charge of drink-driving when he appeared in the New Plymouth District Court on Thursday.  Prior to this appearance, he had no previous convictions.

Lawyer Susan Hurley told the court Macdonald had been out pig-hunting and had not eaten a lot of food during the course of the day. He started drinking with friends and had consumed both beer and rum, Hurley said.

While Macdonald accepted he would be temporarily banned from driving, as a farmer he would struggle with the disqualification, she said.

Judge Chris Sygrove convicted Macdonald and imposed a fine of $1200, plus court costs of $130.

He was disqualified from driving for six months.

 - Stuff

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