Jail for repeat drink-driver

ROB KIDD
Last updated 16:40 21/01/2014

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A five-time drink-driver who ploughed into a family of three on a busy Auckland road has been jailed for more than two years.

Lakhwinder Singh, 31, was sentenced in the Manukau District Court yesterday after previously pleading guilty to three charges of drink-driving and three of dangerous driving causing injury.

On October 7, the Papatoetoe man was seen driving erratically through South Auckland, with numerous vehicles swerving out of his way as he repeatedly crossed the centre-line.

Police were called, but did not reach Singh before a head-on collision in Karaka Rd, near Drury.

It was 9.10am and he was more than three times over the drink-drive limit.

Katherine Brak was giving her teenage son, Alexander, a driving lesson, while her other boy, Matthew, sat in the back.

"He crossed the double yellow lines and just came right for us," she said.

Brak suffered a broken vertebrae and extensive bruising, which kept her in hospital for nearly a week.

But it was her sons she was more worried about.

Alexander had cuts to his arm and she turned around to see her youngest son, Matthew, unconscious.

"For me that was the worst," Brak said.

"We didn't know whether he was alive or not. His eyes were half open and he had blood dripping down his face."

The force of the smash knocked him out but he suffered no serious head injury.

Police were soon at the scene to breathalyse Singh, who blew a reading of 1405 micrograms of alcohol per litre of breath. The legal limit is 400.

What angered Brak most was that the drink-driver was on bail for two previous offences at the time.

Singh's spiralling offending began five months earlier when he was found drunk in a stationary vehicle with the engine on.

A month later, he was driving at speed up and down a shared driveway where his ex-wife lived in Manurewa.

Police arrived as he was wheel spinning along the drive while blasting loud music from his stereo.

"He had difficulty speaking or standing," Judge Edwin Paul said.

Despite a recommendation of home detention by the Probation Service, the judge ruled a sentence of imprisonment was the only appropriate outcome especially since Singh had two previous drink-driving convictions from 2008 and 2012.

A note to the victims also did little to impress Judge Paul.

"Although you've written a letter of apology it's too late, Mr Singh. Any remorse would've been demonstrated if after the first two charges you'd disciplined yourself not to get behind the wheel."

Singh was jailed for two years and one month and indefinitely disqualified from driving.

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