Ciggie run proves costly for drink driver

By Imran Ali

Already full of alcohol and being a disqualified driver, Eugene Williams' decision to drive and get some cigarettes cost him big time.

The recidivist drink driver has been sentenced to 15 months in jail by the Whangarei District Court on two charges of driving with excess breath alcohol and two of driving while disqualified.

His situation was made worse by the fact that he committed the offences while on bail for the same charges.

Williams, 43, had three previous convictions for drink driving and five of driving while disqualified prior to Tuesday's appearance in court.

Judge Thomas Everitt said Williams was stopped by police on State Highway 1 at Uretiti on September 13, 2012 and checks revealed he was a disqualified driver. Williams said he had to travel to Hamilton to pick up his daughter, but after exhibiting signs of recent alcohol intake, he was given a breath test, which returned a reading of 592 micrograms of alcohol per litre of breath.

The legal limit is 400mcg.

He was bailed on the two charges but was again picked up by police at a compulsory breath-testing checkpoint at Springs' Flat, Whangarei on December 21, 2012.

Williams blew 728 mcg on that occasion.

Police learnt he had been indefinitely disqualified.

Williams admitted consuming liquor and being a disqualified driver, saying the only reason he drove was to get some cigarettes.

His lawyer, Cor Eckard, said Williams was "cooking his own goose" by driving again.

Judge Everitt said Williams had been assessed as a high risk of reoffending and that he had thumbed his nose at the law by continuing to drink and drive.

He disqualified him from holding or obtaining a driver's licence for 18 months but gave leave to applying for a zero-alcohol licence - a pink card issued by the New Zealand Transport Agency that means he has to drive without any alcohol in his system.

- Northern Advocate

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