Kildress man broke neck in two places after crashing into tree while drunk

Court
Court

A Kildress man who fractured his neck in two places after crashing into a tree while drunk has been banned from the road for two years.

Appearing before East Tyrone Magistrates Court in Dungannon was Brendan Patrick McDonald, 25, from Murnell’s Road.

He admitted one charge of driving with excess alcohol on December 12 after a dangerous driving allegation was withdrawn by the court.

Police reported being called to the scene of a crash on Loughdoo Road around 1.30am on the night in question.

Ambulance staff reported that a suspected drink driver had left the roadway and had collided with a tree.

A male, the defendant, was receiving treatment in an ambulance and his speech was slurred, but the officers could not interrupt to obtain a specimen for analysis.

The constables followed the ambulance to the Royal Victoria Hospital Spinal Unit where he was admitted due to a double neck fracture.

It was only eight hours after the incident that an alcohol test was conducted.

Forencis tests were completed in May the next year when a back calibration deduced that McDonald had been almost three times the limit.

Under interview he admitted full responsibility.

“This was an extremely poor judgement call,” said a solicitor for the defendant.

“He has been left with a permanent brand... physically and mentally. He has been left badly scarred facially. The accident put him out of work.

“He accepted culpability early on despite the pain which he was suffering. It is a great regret to him but he was commended by the police.

“There was someone else in the car with him, leading to a great sense of guilt over that.

“He drove a mile down the road from the pub to his house. He felt the full brunt of this incident.”

Handing down the driving ban as well as a £250 fine, District Judge John Meehan said that the defendant deserved credit for his early plea and described his pity for the “extreme consequences” of the crash.

“It is frightening how many people are still putting themselves on the street by drink driving.

“You were three times the limit and lost complete control,” he told McDonald.

He then ordered that upon successful completion of the drink drivers’ course, the defendant would be afforded a 25 per cent reduction in his driving dusqualification period.