Magherafelt drunk driver sparked helicopter hunt after crashing into oncoming traffic and fleeing scene

PSNI helicopter

PSNI helicopter

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A Magherafelt man who drunkenly crashed into oncoming traffic before fleeing the scene will discover his sentence in April.

East Tyrone Magistrate’s Court heard how police were tasked to a collision between a lorry and a car on the morning of March 7 last year on the Cookstown Road just outside Moneymore.

In addition to driving with excess alcohol in breath, he also pleaded guilty to dangerous driving, failure to report an accident and failure to stop

The driver of the car, Raymond Alan George Watterson, 47, from Greenvale Park, had appeared intoxicated but had made off down a nearby laneway towards some fields.

The lorry driver reported that as he was travelling towards Cookstown, an oncoming car veered across into his lane and collided with him head on.

A helicopter was tasked to discover Watterson and using heat detection equipment he was located hiding near the tree line.

He was subsequently treated by an ambulance crew and then taken to Dungannon Police Station where he provided a sample of breath just under three times the proscribed limit.

In addition to driving with excess alcohol in breath, he also pleaded guilty to dangerous driving, failure to report an accident and failure to stop.

District Judge John Meehan adjourned the case for sentencing on April 17.

A charge of driving while unfit was withdrawn by the PPS.