Motorist drove 200km after all-day 'bender'

Last updated 05:00 02/04/2014

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A driver who left Hastings after an all-day "bender" drove 200 kilometres to Masterton while more than three times over the limit.

Along the way, concerned motorists tried to force Michael Brown, 46, to pull over.

Just short of Masterton, two of them made him stop, and tried to take his key, but he drove off again, bumping the car that had been positioned in front of him.

He was finally pulled over by police in Ngaumutawa Rd, Masterton, about 6.15pm on March 14. He had a reading of 1338 micrograms of alcohol per litre of breath. The adult limit is 400mcg.

He told the arresting officer he had been drinking all day in Hastings and was heading to Wellington for work. Brown appeared in Hastings District Court yesterday and pleaded guilty to a charge of drink-driving for a third or subsequent time.

His lawyer, Bill Calver, said Brown was "a serious alcoholic". This was his fourth drink-driving offence and he had received a final warning on the last occasion.

Brown had been sober for six months after his last appearance. He had had treatment again since then and had been sober for a month, "before going on a bender which led to this offence".

When Calver said he would be seeking bail, Judge Bridget Mackintosh said there were "very real public safety issues here", and Brown must be held in custody.

The judge noted that all Brown's convictions had occurred since 2007, and all involved very high alcohol readings.

"Imprisonment will be the outcome, given the history and the nature of the driving on this occasion," she said, before remanding him in custody until sentencing next month.

Brown was first spotted driving erratically about 100km into his trip. A further 100km south, north of Masterton, two motorists became concerned by his weaving and speed and tried to pull him over. One positioned their car in front of Brown's and slowed, forcing him to pull over.

Sergeant Richard Gibson said: "While police share the concerns of the motorists who tried to stop the vehicle, we advise people never to put their own safety at risk and rather to phone *555 or 111 and police will deploy appropriate resources."

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- The Dominion Post

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