Jail for drink driver dobbed in by fast food staff

By Mike Dinsdale

A Whangarei man dobbed in for driving drunk by staff at a fast food outlet has been jailed for 11 months for his seventh drink driving conviction.

Lewis James TAKA, 44, unemployed, appeared in Whangarei District Court charged with driving with excess breath alcohol for a third or subsequent time, after he was driving on September 15 last year.

Police said about 2.55am that day a police patrol noticed a blue Ford Falcon with visible frontal damage from an accident in the drive-through of Burger King, in Western Hills Drive.

About two minutes later, Burger King staff contacted police in relation to the car, saying it was being driven by an intoxicated man. Staff said the man had entered the drive-through over a kerb used to separate the carpark from the drive-through, and he stayed in his vehicle for some time before driving off without buying anything.

Police went to the registered owner's (Taka) Hikurangi address, where the Ford was in the driveway with the only working headlight on and the driver's window down.

When Taka came to the front door he admitted driving from Whangarei to his home and said he had consumed 6-8 beers before driving. He did not know, police said, that his vehicle had sustained the frontal damage.

A test showed he had a level of 990 micrograms of alcohol per litre of breath, more than double the 400mcg limit.

Taka was sentenced to 11 months' jail, disqualified from driving for 18 months and had his vehicle forfeited for his seventh drink driving conviction.

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 were:

Jana Grace HEKE, 25, 12 months' supervision, disqualified from driving for six months for driving under the influence of alcohol.

Grant Edward JOHNSTON, 40, 793mcg, $700 fine, disqualified from driving for seven months.

Liquor limits: Aged 20 and above: 400mcg of alcohol per litre of breath; 80mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood. Under 20: Young 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 continue to be subject to the same drink drive penalties as adults.

- Northern Advocate

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