Teuila Fuatai

Teuila Fuatai is a reporter for the NZ Herald

Boozers return to the wheel

Drink-driver racks up 10th conviction after revelations his partner was a sex worker

Police face a growing roll call of recidivist drink-drivers. Photo / Dean Purcell
Police face a growing roll call of recidivist drink-drivers. Photo / Dean Purcell

A man who hit the bottle after finding out his partner was working in the sex industry without his knowledge has been convicted of his ninth and 10th drink-driving offences.

Darren Hood, who was this week sentenced to home detention, is the latest in a lengthening roll-call of recidivist drink-drivers.

His defence lawyer told the court that his last drink-driving conviction had been in 2002, and he had only reoffended in a time of enormous personal turmoil.

He had managed to keep his nose clean for 10 years until he learned his partner had been working in a massage parlour for three years without his knowledge.

He was caught drink-driving in June and, while on bail awaiting sentencing, he was caught again. In one incident he tailgated his girlfriend down the road, driving erratically.

Judge Lawrence Hinton said there would be all kinds of mayhem if everyone went drink-driving after disappointments in their life.

The judge warned Hood he could be certain of a prison sentence if he came before the courts with an 11th drink-driving charge.

But Hood is far from the worst offender: a grandfather who continues to disregard the law has escaped jail despite racking up his 25th driving conviction.

Telamea Oge, of Mangere, was convicted in the Manukau District Court last week of driving while indefinitely disqualified. It was his 10th driving-while-disqualified conviction, the latest on a long list including 15 drink-driving offences.

Figures released under the Official Information Act show more than 7000 drivers with a previous drink-driving conviction were caught and convicted again in the six months to June. And in 2010 and 2011, more than 13,000 convictions for drink-driving each year were handed to motorists who had already been caught over the limit. Nearly 14,000 drink-drive convictions were handed down by courts in the first six months of this year.

A driver convicted on Auckland's North Shore had the country's highest alcohol reading for the period. The motorist was nearly five times the legal limit of 400 micrograms per litre of breath, and had an alcohol reading of 1884 mcg.

The highest reading since 2010 was in Rotorua, at 1921mcg.

Inspector Pete Baird of National Road Police is also warning motorists to be careful over the holiday season.

"While Christmas is a special time for families there is often an increased risk on our roads as higher levels of traffic are on the roads, and people are out socialising with alcohol more often."


Motorist dies in road race stunt

A New Plymouth man is dead and another was cut from his car after losing control while racing on a rural Taranaki road.

Police said alcohol and speed was a factor in the accident which happened early Friday evening near the intersection of Fairfield and Beach Rds.

A 26-year-old New Plymouth man driving a Holden Calais died at the scene.

The fire service had to cut a 22-year-old driver from his Subaru. He was taken to New Plymouth Hospital with moderate injuries. Hawera Sergeant Lincoln McCrea said both cars were travelling in the same direction down a long straight rural road when it appeared one car lost control around 7.15pm Friday.

"It appears the cars were driving side-by-side down that road," said McCrea.

Police were appealing for sightings of a dark blue Subaru or a light blue Holden Calais leaving any addresses on Fairfield Rd and displaying "boy racer-type" driving before the accident.

The serious crash unit was continuing its investigation into the cause of the accident.

- APNZ

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