A Keady man who turned to alcohol after the loss of his employment during lockdown has been handed a 15 month driving ban after a drink drive hit and run incident.
The 34-year-old’s solicitor told court that the defendant was found by police at the side of the road with a bottle of alcohol in his hand.
Gareth Mark Quinn, of Caramoyle, pleaded guilty to driving with excess alcohol and failing to stop, remain or report an accident at Armagh Magistrates’, sitting at Newry, on Tuesday.
Prosecution outlined that on April 21, police received a report of a BMW being driven erratically on the Battleford Road, Armagh.
Officers were flagged down by a pedestrian who reported a hit and run in which the wing mirror of their car had been clipped by a BMW which had failed to stop.
Around 500 metres away, police located the BMW which had damage to its nearside and had a flat tyre.
They spoke to the defendant, who was nearby. Due to the manner of the driving a preliminary breath test was conducted which resulted in a fail.
An evidential sample was subsequently obtained in custody, this gave a reading of 66mg of alcohol in 100ml of breath.
Defence barrister Conor Coulter stated: “He was fairly candid at the scene. He had not travelled that far and was observed at the side of the road with a bottle of alcohol in his hand.
“There was nothing sophisticated in his getting way. He has one previous similar from back in 2007 and he has nothing since 2011.”
He added: “He lost employment during lockdown. He turned to alcohol to pass the time and deal with his financial problems.
“He had been at the family home and after getting into an argument made the stupid decision to drive.”
District Judge Eamonn King commented: “There are aggravating factors in this case, namely the hit and run basically.”
Quinn was disqualified from driving for 15 months and was ordered to pay a fine of £500, along with the offender’s levy of £15.
The defendant was certified for the drink driving course which would see his ban reduced by one quarter upon completion.