Farmer drove while on drugs

By Mike Dinsdale


Driving after taking valium and methadone has cost a "stupefied" Whangarei farmer his licence.

Other motorists prevented Michael John Hewson from continuing after a bout of dangerous driving.

The 36-year-old appeared in Whangarei District Court on charges of driving under the influence of drink or drugs for a third or subsequent time and dangerous driving.

Hewson was driving a Holden Rodeo ute on Pipiwai Rd on New Year's Eve when the vehicle started weaving across the centreline, alerting other motorists. Hewson continued along Dip Rd where he stopped his vehicle in the middle of the road, blocking the carriageway, before getting out with a dog, leaping on the bonnet and trying to sleep.

He then returned to his vehicle and drove off towards Three Mile Bush Rd, but stopped the ute again on the pedestrian crossing outside Hurupaki Primary School. Again Hewson got out and slumped on the bonnet trying to sleep, before getting back in the vehicle and heading back towards Pipiwai.

However, he drove on the wrong side of the road and over a roundabout, causing several vehicles to take evasive action to avoid a collision.

Hewson continued to drive west, crossing onto the wrong side of the road for long periods and at times didn't even react to on-coming vehicles while he was in the wrong lane.

After stopping the ute other motorists approached the vehicle, and prevented him from driving.

When police arrived Hewson was in a stupefied state and when it was established he was not under the influence of alcohol he was asked to undergo drug impairment tests, but was unable to do so because of his stupefied state. A nurse's attempt to take a blood sample from him to check for drugs was unsuccessful do to extensive scar tissue on his veins. A doctor then established Hewson was in no fit state or capable of driving.

Hewson told police he had taken valium and methadone.

He was fined $750, ordered to pay $132 in court costs and banned from driving for 12 months and one day.

Also convicted of driving under the influence of drugs in Northland recently was Karlina Joyce Oppert, 24, who was fined $630, ordered to pay $771 in analysis fees and disqualified from driving for six months after she had cannabis in her system.

- Northern Advocate

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