Drink driver doing 10mph and swerving across motorway in County Antrim 'could have killed'

Drink driver doing 10mph and swerving across motorway in County Antrim 'could have killed'

A DRINK driver doing 10mph and swerving across lanes on the M22 motorway near Antrim town was fortunate not to have killed somebody, a judge said.

William Patrick James Craig (33), of Enagh Park in Limavady, admitted driving a Volkswagen Passat with excess alcohol in his breath and also pleaded guilty to insurance and driving licence offences in relation to 6am on March 3 this year.

A prosecutor told Antrim Magistrates' Court, sitting in Ballymena, Roads Policing officers saw the Passat doing 10mph and swerving between lanes.

Police pulled in front of the car and it came to a stop, Court News NI can report.

Police could smell intoxicating liquor from his breath; he was slurring his words and an officer took the keys.

The defendant "alighted from the vehicle and made off up the carriageway in the direction of Antrim".

Police saw him attempt to "hide below a lorry trailer" .

In custody in Belfast he had an alcohol in breath reading of 74 - the legal limit is 35.

A defence solicitor said the defendant had "no recollection" of events.

He said Craig had a "problematic relationship with alcohol" but he knows it had been a serious matter and one which he "deeply regrets".

The lawyer said at the time of the offences the defendant had completed a road ban and bought the vehicle "off the internet" to get himself
"rehabilitated onto the road".

The lawyer said the offence was detected in the "early hours, extremely low speed" and "it doesn't appear anybody was placed particularly at risk other than himself".

However, District Judge Nigel Broderick said: "He was swerving on the motorway full drunk. He is lucky he didn't kill somebody. There are always cars on the motorway no mater what time of the day or night. It is a main thoroughfare".

The judge said Craig had an "appalling" criminal record with 117 previous convictions.

The judge said, on balance, given the defendant's "health difficulties" he was not sending him to jail.

Craig was given a five months jail term, suspended for three years; banned from the roads for five years and fined £100.