Over-the-limit driver crashed car into stream near Lough Neagh after two day 'drink binge' and when stopped leaving area as a passenger on a tractor he poured water from his welly boots

Over-the-limit driver crashed car into stream near Lough Neagh after two day 'drink binge' and when stopped leaving area as a passenger on a tractor he poured water from his welly boots

AN over-the-limit driver who said he had been on a two day drink binge crashed a car into a stream and after being spotted leaving the area as a passenger in a tractor he poured water out of his welly boots, Antrim Magistrates Court, sitting in Ballymena, was told.

Liam Toner (22), of The Beeches, Crumlin, admitted driving with excess alcohol in breath in the Ballyginniff Road close to the shore of Lough Neagh on December 20 last year.

A prosecutor said that around 11.30am police received reports a male had "driven a motor vehicle out of McKenna's Bar" and crashed a short distance away "in a stream".

Police arrived around 15 minutes later and the defendant was pointed out. At that stage the defendant was a "passenger onboard a tractor which was attempting to leave the area".

Police stopped the tractor.

Police could smell intoxicating liquor from the defendant who was unsteady on his feet and he he was "wet from his knees down".

He admitted to police he had been driving a car; that he had been "drinking for two days" and had "crashed the vehicle into a stream".

Police could see the car a short distance away in a stream at Loughview Road. The defendant was the insured owner of the vehicle.

The defendant, Court News NI can report, failed a preliminary breath test.

An earlier court was told by a prosecutor that when arrested the defendant "took off his welly boots and poured water out of each of them".

At a police station, the defendant had an alcohol in breath reading of 85 - the legal limit is 35.

A defence barrister said the defendant had "mental health issues".

The lawyer added: "Despite only being 22 years of age this young man struggled significantly during lockdown".

He said the defendant had worked as a landscape gardener but lockdown "brought an end to so much of his business".

The barrister said that led to "mental health difficulties coupled with alcohol misuse".

Deputy District Judge Philip Mateer accepted the defendant had been "going through a difficult period".

He banned the defendant from driving for 18 months and put him on Probation for a year which he said was "to set you on the right path".

The judge said: "Whatever was going on in your head could potentially have had consequences for other members of the public".

  • Main picture: General image of Welly boots.