Drink driver fled crash scene in County Antrim claiming he was 'afraid' after being 'challenged' by members of the public

Drink driver fled crash scene in County Antrim claiming he was 'afraid' after being 'challenged' by members of the public

A DRINK driver who fled the scene on foot after crashing a car into a lamp post in Antrim town claimed he was "afraid" after being confronted by members of the public.

Claudius Palmer (57), a nurse, of Millhouse Glen, Antrim admitted a number of charges in relation to August 21 this year including driving with excess alcohol; failing to stop, remain and report an accident and possession of cannabis.

A prosecutor said at 9.30pm on August 21 police attended a report of a single vehicle road traffic collision at Millhouse Road.

The driver had "walked off" and police saw a vehicle with frontal damage at a lamp post.

Cannabis was found in the car and after witnesses provided a description of the driver, the defendant was found a short distance away.

He had an alcohol in breath reading of  66 microgrammes of alcohol per 100 millilitres of breath - the legal limit is 35.

The prosecutor said the defendant told police he understood the duties of a driver following a collision but he was "afraid" at the at the time and had walked off "due to the behaviour of members of the public who were around the vehicle".

A defence lawyer said when Palmer had the collision, members of the public had "challenged him" and "to get away from them" the defendant had gone to his home around 100 yards away.

He said the defendant had "foolishly" driven on the date in question after taking alcohol and "regrets his actions".

At Antrim Magistrates Court, sitting in Ballymena, the defendant was banned from driving for a year and fined £425.