A man who fell asleep at the wheel after police stopped him with cannabis, cocaine and diazepam in his system has been told by a district judge he could have killed someone.
The 29-year-old’s barrister told court: “His condition was such that he should not have been anywhere near a car, never mind behind the wheel of one.”
Eion Matthew Carson, of Kemp Park, Ballycastle, appeared for sentencing on driving when unfit through drink or drugs, driving without due care or attention, using a vehicle without insurance, no driving licence and obstructing police at Craigavon Magistrates’ Court on Friday.
Prosecution outlined that on September 7, at 3.55pm, police on Charles Street, Portadown, observed a Seat Leon which was being driven slowly crossing the central white line and causing a queue of traffic.
Officers approached the car and spoke to the driver, the defendant, who initially gave a false name but it was later established he had no licence or insurance.
It was noted that Carson was slumped, his eyes were glazed and his speech was slurred.
Police asked the defendant to step out of the car but such was his condition he had to be assisted out.
Officers had to hold Carson up, so they decided to allow him to sit back in the car and after a while he fell asleep.
The defendant was arrested and a sample of blood was taken whilst he was in custody. When tested this showed cocaine, cannabis and diazepam in his system.
Carson was identified by his fingerprints, his condition deteriorated and he had to be taken to hospital.
Later, when interviewed about the offences the defendant made full admissions.
Defence barrister Gavyn Cairns stated: “This is a serious case of this type, only made more difficult by the defendant’s record.
“His condition was such that he should not have been anywhere near a car, never mind behind the wheel of one. Testament to this is that he was in an induced coma for approximately 26 hours.”
He continued: “He should not have been out of his home. I ask that he is given credit for his early plea. He was candid with probation about what he had taken and has described this as a wake-up call.
“Although it must be conceded that he may be a young man he is certainly not a teenage anymore.”
District Judge Stephen Keown commented: “He could have killed people and had no idea he did so.”
Carson was sentenced to four months in custody suspended for two years and was disqualified from driving for three years.
In addition, the defendant was ordered to pay a fine of £300, along with the offender’s levy of £15, within 20 weeks.