Drink driver dices with death

Last updated 09:09 27/11/2012

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Nearly drowning after crashing his car was the wake-up call for Nelson man who has been convicted of his third drink driving offence.

Jordan Perri Walsh, 20 at the time, was driving along Bryant Rd in Brightwater on the evening of September 24 when he failed to take a sharp left-hand turn. Prosecutor Sergeant Wayne Johnston said the car crashed through a barrier and ended up in a precarious position stopping short of the river.

A breath test recorded a blood alcohol level of 800 micrograms per litre of breath, twice the legal limit for drivers over 20 of 400mcg.

Lawyer Mark Dollimore said Walsh, who has two previous convictions for under 20 drink driving, had since got his act together.

Residents had helped him out of the car and Mr Dollimore noted that Walsh was sensible and did not run away from the scene and waited for police. He had also taken an apology note and box of chocolates to the resident who helped him to thank them.

The vehicle was written off and Walsh had not consumed alcohol since the accident, he said. Judge Tony  Zohrab said it was a serious incident that could well have ended in death. ''You said you've learnt your lesson, [but] you seem to be a slow learner.''

In sentencing, Judge Zohrab said he had to consider not only Walsh's interests but people driving the other way on the road that night.

''It's one thing if you want to kill yourself on the road. It's a completely different thing when you subject members of the public, through no fault of their own, to [events that] change the lives of them and their families.''

He disqualified Walsh from driving indefinitely and said when he did qualify for a licence he would be subjected to a three year zero alcohol license. He ordered him to 12 months supervision, to attend an alcohol and drug course, 200 hours community work. He had also put a warning on his record that prison would be considered if he offended in this way again. 

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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