Motorists had to swerve to avoid drink driver who was on wrong side of road during 'utterly appalling' incidents between Ballymena and Ahoghill

Motorists had to swerve to avoid drink driver who was on wrong side of road during 'utterly appalling' incidents between Ballymena and Ahoghill

MOTORISTS had to swerve to avoid collisions as a drink driver - who was banned from getting behind the wheel at the time - had driven on the "wrong side" of the road during what a judge described as an "utterly appalling" incident.

Matthew Harold Crozier (42), of Brookfield Gardens, Ahoghill, came to police attention around midnight on August 15 this year in the Galgorm Road area of Ballymena.

A prosecutor told Ballymena Magistrates Court police saw a car behind them "on the wrong side of road" and oncoming traffic had to swerve to avoid collisions.

Police activated lights in an attempt to get the vehicle to stop but the signals were ignored and the  vehicle continued towards Ahoghill.

Police cancelled their lights and sirens and the vehicle pulled in in front of them.

For "four miles" the defendant had driven erratically, hitting kerbs and narrowly missing a central reservation.

Police were able to pull in front of the vehicle and slow down to make it stop.

The defendant had slurred speech; his eyes were glazed and there was a strong smell of alcohol

Crozier failed to provide a preliminary breath test and checks showed he was a banned driver who was uninsured.

Defence solicitor Emma McCann said it was "not a good episode of driving" but it did not appear there was any speed involved.

She said the defendant had made a "very foolish decision" to drive to remove himself from a situation where he was "starting to feel overwhelmed".

District Judge Nigel Broderick said it had been an "utterly appalling" incident.

He told the defendant: "You drive for at least four miles drunk avoiding head on collisions hitting the kerbs.

"It is  just but for the Grace of God that there wasn't a significant accident and you could have killed yourself and others. I take a very dim view of this behaviour.

Crozier was given a four months jail term and banned from driving for three and a half years. He was had £500 bail fixed for appeal but is not allowed to drive in the meantime.