An Armagh man who was found by police hiding in bushes after losing control of his car and landing in someone’s garden has been sentenced to five months in prison.
Court heard the 32-year-old, who is in breach of a deportation order, would be returned to his native Lithuania upon his release.
Sarunas Rukevicius, 32, of Railway Street, pleaded guilty to failing to provide a breath sample, careless driving, failing to provide a preliminary breath sample, aggravated vehicle taking, driving whilst disqualified, breaching a deportation order, obstructing police, failing to remain or report an accident, using a vehicle whilst uninsured and driving whilst unfit.
On Tuesday, the defendant appeared at Armagh Magistrates’ Court via videolink from Maghberry prison where he had been remanded in custody for the last five months.
Defence counsel stated that when Rukevicius had served the time he was sentenced to today he would be sent back to Lithuania as he was in breach of a deportation order.
Court heard that on September 2, at around 1.50am, a resident at an address on the Charlemont Road, Moy, was awakened by a van mounting the grass outside his home.
He went outside to check on the welfare of the driver and noted a strong smell of alcohol.
The driver, identified as Rukevicius, told the man that he had simply lost control of the van.
The resident suggested calling the police but the defendant stated that this man was a racist, saying he had simply lost control of the vehicle and would offer him money.
Police arrived and found Rukevicius hiding in some bushes; clear tyre marks were observed on the grass outside the resident’s home.
The defendant refused a preliminary breath test and was subsequently arrested at 3.46am.
Whilst in custody Rukevicius once more refused a breath test.
Checks by police showed that the defendant was a disqualified driver and that he was in breach of a deportation order.
When interviewed, Rukevicius accepted the offences.
He claimed to have obtained the keys to the van on an earlier occasion from another Lithuanian national and that he lost control of the vehicle due to a blown out tyre.
Defence counsel stated: “This was a guilty plea at the earliest opportunity. Mr Rukevicius was not cooperative to begin with but did make admissions the following day.
“He has a significant record but no suspended sentences to be dealt with.”
He added: “This is a man with a good work ethic and employment history in this country, but after being deported he foolishly decided to return to the UK.”
Rukevicius was sentenced to five months in prison.
He was also disqualified from driving for five years and handed a fine of £500, along with the offender’s levy of £15.