Flying cone struck cop at checkpoint

By Mike Dinsdale


A Whangarei motorist who drove into a cone that then struck a police officer at a compulsory breath-testing checkpoint was driving a car that had twice been ordered off the road for defects.

Codey Lee ELMBRANCH-BRAKE, 19, an apprentice bricklayer, appeared in Whangarei District Court for sentence on a charge of driving with excess breath alcohol after an incident on July 7, where he crashed into the compulsory breath checkpoint on Western Hills Drive, the police summary of facts said.

About 11.45pm, Elmbranch-Brake was seen driving north on the road in excess of the 70km/h speed limit as he approached the checkpoint.

There were two vehicles doing the checks, including a marked police-dog wagon, and he drove through road cones fitted with red and blue flashing lights.

One of the road cones hit by his car flew across two lanes of the road, hitting a police constable who was standing on the median strip.

A test showed Elmbranch-Brake had a level of 555 micrograms of alcohol per litre of breath. The limit for drivers aged under 20 is zero.

He was driving on a learner licence, his car had no warrant or registration and had been issued with two orders to stay off the road because of defects.

A further inspection revealed that the brakes did not work properly. Of the 247 drivers stopped over three hours, Elmbranch-Brake was the only driver who did not manage to negotiate the merging lanes and stop for the test.

He offered little explanation for driving in contravention of his driving licence, in driving a vehicle that he knew should not be on the road. Elmbranch-Brake was fined $550 and disqualified from driving for six months.

Northland has some of the highest rates of drink-driving in the country, particularly repeat offenders, and the Northern Advocate is publishing its "name and shame" list of all people convicted of drink-driving offences in the region.

Also sentenced in Northland's courts recently were:

Merle Jaye TUPE, 49, 462mcg, 250 hours' community work, disqualified from driving for 12 months and one day for fifth drink-driving conviction.

Bronwyn CLARKE, 20, 523mcg, $500 fine, $132 costs, disqualified from driving for six months.

David John VAN DORSTEN, 20, 536mcg, $450 fine, $132 costs, disqualified from driving for six months.

Liquor limits: Aged 20 and above: 400mcg of alcohol per litre of breath; 80mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood. Under 20: Drivers with a blood alcohol limit of between 0.00 and 0.03 will receive an infringement fee of $200 and 50 demerit points. Young drivers with a blood-alcohol limit over that will be subject to the same drink-drive penalties as adults.

- NORTHERN ADVOCATE

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