A DRINK driver on the wrong side of the road at 2.30am in Killyleagh who caused a head-on collision was lucky neither he nor another motorist were killed, Downpatrick Magistrates Court was told on Monday.
Martin George Michael Hanna (42), of Highbury Avenue, Killyleagh, pleaded guilty to dangerous driving and driving with excess alcohol in his blood in relation to a crash at Comber Road at 2.30am on January 26 last year.
A prosecutor said police attended a head-on collision involving a Berlingo van being driven by Hanna and a Volkswagen Golf.
She said Hanna's van had "swerved onto the wrong side of the road" causing "significant damage".
The prosecution lawyer said there was a strong smell of intoxicating liquor coming from the defendant but a preliminary breath test could not be carried out due to his injuries.
She said both males involved in the collision were taken to hospital where Hanna had an alcohol in blood reading of 203 milligrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres - the legal limit is 80.
The court heard dashcam footage showed the van on the wrong side of the road before the collision.
The defendant initially admitted driving the vehicle but said he couldn't remember what happened.
A defence barrister said it was accepted that the terms of his driving and the amount of alcohol he had taken was at the "higher level".
He said Hanna said at the scene: 'What I done I am so sorry. I made one mistake and I'm going to pay for this, I am going to lose my job'.
The lawyer said the defendant "who was in the driving game all his life" did lose his job and is now on benefits.
The defence lawyer handed in character references and said the defendant was "not someone who takes chances like this" and it had been "totally out of character".
The barrister said the defendant wished to convey "extreme sympathy" and apologise to the other person who was injured.
The lawyer said Hanna had now viewed dashcam footage and was "absolutely shocked" at his behaviour.
The barrister added: "He is aware how serious this could have been for him and, much more importantly, for the other driver. There is nothing like showing someone footage of themselves to reveal just how lucky he was that night".
The lawyer said Hanna is held in "very high regard" in the community where he has done "excellent works throughout the community, voluntary service as well."
The barrister added: "This was one moment of madness in thirty years which has cost him his career"
District Judge Amanda Brady told the defendant in court: "You were on the wrong side of the road, had a head on collision and injured another person"
Hanna was banned from driving for two years and was ordered to do 100 hours of Community Service.