Magherafelt drink driver crashed into wall trying to avoid fox

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A Magherafelt man, who crashed into a wall when he swerved to miss a fox on the road while going to get milk, had an alcohol reading just under twice the legal limit.

Seamus McElhone, 56, from Moss Road was disqualified for 16 months when he pleaded guilty to drink­driving before East Tyrone Magistrates’ court.

A Prosecuting lawyer told the court that on March 8 the defendant had crashed his silver Mercedes into a wooden fence and damaged a concrete wall at Shore Street, Ballyronan.

He had to be taken to hospital by ambulance.

When Police came to the scene they found an empty locked car with no key in the ignition.

The airbag had deployed and there was blood on it.

Police traced the defendant to the hospital but were told by him that he was not the driver.

An alcohol reading of 146 mg of alcohol in 100ml of blood was registered, the lawyer told the court.

After failing to show up for an interview because he was confused due to the injuries he had sustained, the defendant later admitted he had had a drink at lunch time but didn’t think he was over the limit, the court heard.

A defence solicitor said the defendant had made the foolish decision to drive to the shop to get milk.

The crash occurred when he swerved to miss a fox on the road.

The solicitor said the reading was just under twice the legal limit.

Passing sentence District Judge, John Meehan, stated the reading proved he was unfit to be driving and disqualified McElhone for 16 months and fined him £200.