Driver escapes fine for drunken crash
A 26-year-old drunk driver, heard accelerating heavily on a residential Richmond street before crashing into a concrete wall and seriously injuring himself, has avoided a fine but been disqualified from driving.
Nelson man Callum John Vessey was convicted of drink driving by Judge Tony Zohrab in the Nelson District Court yesterday.
About 6.30pm on June 20, Vessey crashed a Mitsubishi car into a concrete wall, near the intersection of King St and Cautley St, prosecutor Chris Stringer told the court.
Vessey was heard by a Richmond resident to have accelerated heavily, before he missed a corner, mounted the kerb, and crashed into a concrete wall, causing significant damage to himself, the wall and the vehicle, Mr Stringer said.
Vessey, who relied on a crutch to support himself as he walked into the dock, was taken to Nelson Hospital with serious injuries to his knee and elbow, Mr Stringer said.
Subsequent tests showed Vessey had been driving drunk, with a blood alcohol reading above the legal limit.
Defence lawyer Mark Dollimore asked for a financial penalty, stating that Vessey was genuinely apologetic for his mistake.
Vessey had paid more than $6000 in reparation to repair the wall he crashed into, which had amounted to a "betterment" for the wall's owner, as it was now in a better state than before it was crashed into.
Mr Dollimore told the court that Vessey, who had never previously appeared before the court, was devastated he had caused all the damage.
He had not driven since the accident, Mr Dollimore said.
"He has permanent serious injuries that may take years to improve, and may not," Mr Dollimore said.
Judge Zohrab said Vessey had suffered physically and mentally as a result of the incident, which he accepted was "totally out of character".
"You have suffered enough," Judge Zohrab said.
He did not impose a fine, as Vessey had already paid a significant amount in reparation.
"I am not trying to downplay the degree of guilt," he added.
"The courts on a daily basis deal with young people drinking to excess. How many wake-up calls are required?"
He convicted and disqualified Vessey from driving for six months, the minimum period he could impose.
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