Police saw car being driven without lights illuminated ... and then it crashed into garden hedge in Ballymena

Police saw car being driven without lights illuminated ... and then it crashed into garden hedge in Ballymena

POLICE saw a Renault Clio being driven without lights illuminated on at Galgorm Road in Ballymena and the vehicle then entered Smithfield Place at speed and crashed into a garden hedge.

The incident involved Costinel Ionut Cioica (24), of Hill Street in the town, on May 20 this year.

Police detected a strong smell of intoxicating liquor and there were a number of beer bottles in the vehicle.

The defendant had an alcohol in breath reading of 67 microgrammes of alcohol per 100 millilitres of breath - the legal limit is 35.

Then, on June 6 this year, police were tasked to a two vehicle collision at Linenhall Street in Ballymena involving the defendant in a Clio and this time he had an alcohol in breath reading of 87.

At Ballymena Magistrates Court the defendant admitted two charges of driving with excess alcohol.

A defence lawyer said the defendant is a Romanian national who has been "living here around a year".

On the first occasion the defendant had been drinking with friends and had been returning home to get paracetamol for a headache, the defence lawyer said.

The second occasion involved the defendant taking a chance to drive home again, the court was told.

Deputy District Judge Anne Marshall banned the defendant from driving for three years and fined him £650 saying it "beggars belief" that he had offended twice in such a short time.