Man crashed car onto roundabout in Ballymena

A man who said he had at least eight bottles of ‘Corona’ at a charity function was found “highly intoxicated” in the seat of an Audi car which crashed onto the Cushendall Road Roundabout in Ballymena in the early hours of June 9 this year.

Christopher Murray (33), an electrician, with an address at Galgorm Road in Ahoghill, admitted driving with excess alcohol and also being uninsured.

A prosecutor told Ballymena Magistrates’ Court that at 2.50am police received a report of a vehicle having mounted the Cushendall Road Roundabout and at 3am police saw an Audi on the roundabout and Murray was in the driver’s seat in a “highly intoxicated state”.

In custody, the defendant had an alcohol in breath reading of 83 - the legal limit is 35.

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The court heard Murray was “remorseful” during interview and said he had been at a “charity function” at a hotel and had drank “eight to ten bottles of Corona” before driving.

A defence solicitor said the defendant had a “completely clean record” and had been driving for 15 years without penalty points.

He said Murray had been at a “charity function” and had intended not to drive there but was “running late”.

The lawyer said the defendant said the decision to drive after the function was the “worst decision he has ever made in his life”.

The solicitor added: “He was so taken aback he hasn’t driven the car since. He has been getting a taxi to and from his place of work.”

District Judge Nigel Broderick said: “It beggars belief that someone would drink ten bottles of Corona and then get in a car and drive it.

“Does the penny not drop with people in society that cars driven by people who are drunk are extremely dangerous and they put not only their own lives at risk but the lives of others. It displays such poor judgement. It was very foolish”.

The defendant, who was not present at court, nor on video link, was banned from driving for 16 months; will have to then re-sit his test and was also fined £500.