Tiraumea drunk-driver 'lucky to be alive'

By Don Farmer

A Tiraumea farm hand had a significant blood alcohol level when he crashed his car and was thrown through the windshield.

He was described as lucky to be alive when he appeared in Masterton District Court yesterday.

Connah James Farrow, 19, pleaded guilty to drink-driving, and careless use of a motor vehicle and was fined $1200 and disqualified from driving for nine months.

Police prosecutor Sergeant Garry Wilson said Farrow had been driving in rural Eketahuna on August 26, followed by a friend in another vehicle, when he lost control, crossed the centre line then over-corrected.

The car hit a bank and rolled, throwing Farrow, who had not been wearing a seat belt, through the windscreen.

A blood test taken in hospital showed his blood alcohol level to be 197mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood. The legal limit for under-20s is zero, but more serious penalties apply over 80mg.

He had told police he was on his way to Alfredton to sell his vehicle when the crash happened, said Mr Wilson.

Solicitor James Elliott, representing Farrow, said the high alcohol level was acknowledged, as were the unfortunate consequences of Farrow's driving.

"He is lucky to be standing here today," Mr Elliott said.

Farrow had fractured his shoulder and, Mr Elliott said, it was fortunate he had been travelling alone and nobody else had been involved in the crash.

"He hasn't had a drink since," Mr Elliott said.

Judge Denys Barrys said although Farrow had no previous convictions for driving offences, a hefty fine was needed to "reflect the amount of alcohol in your system".

He fined Farrow $1000 with court costs of $132.89 and medical costs of $93 for drink-driving and a further $200 with court costs of $132.89 for careless use of a motor vehicle. Farrow was disqualified for nine months on each charge with the disqualifications to run concurrently.


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