If it had been a difficult few months for one Napier man it just got more difficult when he sped through the city's West Quay bar quarter late on a Saturday night and crashed into a house in a nearby street.
It was 31-year-old Laughton Caleb Dean Maitai's first offence and in Napier District Court on Tuesday Judge Tony Adeane told him his usual sentencing option for this type of behaviour was jail.
"It was outrageous," the judge said, rejecting a defence plea for a discharge without conviction and sentencing Maitai to nine months' probationary supervision and disqualifying him from driving for six months.
Maitai admitted driving with excess breath alcohol (722 micrograms per litre of breath), failing to stop for a police car with flashing red and blue lights and siren wailing, and the reckless driving that followed.
The drama started when a police speed radar clocked Maitai's Subaru at 85km/h in a 50km/h area on Pandora Rd, Napier, about 11.50pm on September 29.
A summary says police activated the lights and siren in an attempt to stop the vehicle and breath-test Maitai, but the car accelerated, turned right into West Quay and sped through West Quay, at speeds exceeding 100km/h, failing to give way to other vehicles as required at its one-way speed-calming intervals.
It cut the corner into Lewer St — "in full view of the general public dining at Shed 2" — and accelerated across Bridge St where it became out of control on a left-hand turn into Campbell St, crashed through a fence and hit a house, in which occupants were asleep upstairs.
But it wasn't the finish-line for the midnight dragster who reversed and drove off towards Ossian Rd before he parked up and, according to the summary, "decamped on foot".
Police soon afterwards found Maitai had returned almost to the scene of the crime, drinking at the Thirsty Whale in West Quay, a few doors from where he had departed the area a few minutes earlier, and where the police would finally get the chance to test how much he'd been drinking.
He told them he was sorry, and that the past few months had been "rather difficult".
His own vehicle was extensively damaged and the cost of repairs in Campbell St was at least $17,500, but no order was made for reparation.
Judge Adeane appreciated there were issues to deal with, and said the supervision would help. But he reminded Maitai the offending was "deliberate", and the crash not an "accident".