Court in Ballymena hears motorist who was three-and-a-half-times the drink drive limit fled accident scene at '100mph'

Court in Ballymena hears motorist who was three-and-a-half-times the drink drive limit fled accident scene at '100mph'

A MOTORIST who did a reported speed of around 100mph after driving off from the scene of a car crash was later found to be more than three and a half times the drink limit, a court in Ballymena heard.

Mieczyslaw Marcin Knap (32), of Glenfield in Rasharkin, appeared at Antrim Magistrates' Court, sitting in Ballymena.

He pleaded guilty to driving with excess alcohol in his breath in the vicinity of Cullybackey Road, Ballymena, on March 27 this year.

He also admitted failing to stop, remain and report a collision and also pleaded guilty to breaching a traffic sign.

A prosecutor said that at 2.15am an off-duty police officer reported a Ford Mondeo swerving side to side before failing to stop at a red light in Ballymena town centre.

The officer remained behind the vehicle and saw it crash into the rear of Volkswagen Golf which had slowed down intending to turn right.

The defendant then drove off at speed and the driver of the Golf followed along Cullybackey Road to get the "registration of the vehicle" and "backed off when he believed the defendant realised he was behind him".

The court heard the defendant increased his speed to "approximately 100mph" which "made it too dangerous for the victim to follow".

When the Golf driver pulled in at Sand Road the off-duty officer was able to provide details of the defendant's vehicle.

Police went to the defendant's home at 2.49am and saw a damaged Ford Mondeo and although he admitted he had been driving he refused to provide a preliminary breath test.

When arrested and taken to Coleraine PSNI Station he had an alcohol in breath reading of 128 - the legal limit is 35.

A defence barrister said it was recognised there were a number of "aggravating" features in the case.

He said the defendant had no previous convictions.

The court heard the defendant is a self-employed businessman and has a "sun tan shop".

District Judge Nigel Broderick banned the defendant from driving for 20 months and fined him £900.

The judge said the defendant had been "very lucky" not to have been involved in a more serious accident and said if the driving had led to someone being killed he would have been facing a very lengthy prison term.

Judge Broderick said: "It is only but for the Grace of God that you didn't have an accident because there was no way that you were in control of this vehicle".

The judge said if Knap is caught drink driving again he runs the risk of an immediate custodial sentence.

  • Main picture: General image of a speedometer.