A Craigavon teenager who drove his mother’s car into a field after drinking 10 pints at a rugby club dinner has been handed an 18 month driving ban.
Court heard the 19-year-old fitted the description of a male spotted leaving the scene and was found asleep in bed having urinated in his trousers.
Conor Foster, of Loughview, pleaded guilty to aggravated taking and causing damage to a vehicle, driving with excess alcohol, using a vehicle without insurance, two defective tyres and failing to stop, remain or report an accident at Craigavon Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday.
Prosecution outlined that on January 26, at 3.30am, police received a report from a member of the public that a car had crashed into a field on the Derrymore Road in Craigavon.
They had also witnessed a male walking away from the scene and gave a description of him.
At 4.30am, police located the car, a Seat Leon, and noted that the two front tyres were bald.
Checks revealed that the vehicle was insured and registered to an address in Loughview, Craigavon.
Officers attended the address, they noted that the lights were on and the front door of the property was unlocked.
Due to concerns for the welfare of the driver, police entered the home and located only one occupant, the defendant, asleep in an upstairs bedroom.
Police struggled to wake Foster and when he did get up it was observed that his speech was slurred and he was struggling for balance.
Officers noted that the defendant matched the description of the male spotted leaving the scene, including stains on the front of his trousers which appeared to have been urine.
A preliminary breath test was carried out resulting in a fail. Foster was arrested and following caution replied: “That’s alright.”
Whilst at Antrim Custody Suite, an evidential sample of breath was obtained giving a reading of 53mg of alcohol in 100ml of breath.
Police spoke to the registered owner of the car, Foster’s mother, who stated he did not have permission to drive the vehicle and checks revealed he was not insured to do so either.
When interviewed, the defendant said he had been at Lurgan Rugby Club where he had consumed 10 pints of beer. He accepted that he did not have his mother’s permission to drive her car and confirmed he was the sole occupant.
Foster told police he had not consumed any other substance, that he was unaware of the bald tyres and was unsure as to whether he was insured.
Defence barrister Conor Lunny stated: “There is nothing I can say to mitigate this offence. He comes from a respected family and this is a young man with no previous.
“He was at a sportsman dinner, he is a keen rugby player and athlete. He does not drink that often but was led to drink more than he normally would by other persons there.”
He continued: “His parents were away in Donegal and his mother had left her car. He got a lift home from the rugby club but can’t explain why he got into his mother’s car, he had no place to be.
“Everything that proceeded this he cannot remember. This is a young man who works full time for his father’s business and he is mortified to be before the court.”
Mr Lunny said: “He presents as extremely contrite and I have been instructed that he had been lectured by his parents as to his responsibilities on the road.
“He still plays rugby but is now sensible about his alcohol consumption. He had the wisdom to get a lift home but has no recollection of why he took his mother’s car.”
District Judge Amanda Brady stated: “Mr Foster, it is hard to equate your behaviour with the fact you have a clear record.
“You can’t expect the minimum sentence given the reading and the fact there was an accident but I will give you credit because you are young.”
Foster was disqualified from driving for 18 months and was ordered to pay a fine of £725, along with the offender’s levy of £15, within 15 weeks.
The defendant was certified for the drink driving course which would see his ban reduced by one quarter upon completion.