An Armagh man with over 50 years driving experience collided with a police vehicle after drinking in a local golf club.
The 70-year-old’s solicitor told court that the defendant had turned to alcohol at the time after suffering a family bereavement.
David Reid, of Drummanmore Road, pleaded guilty to driving with excess alcohol at the city’s Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday.
Prosecution outlined that around tea time on November 9, police were involved in a collision on the Deansbridge roundabout on the outskirts of Armagh.
The officers had been travelling in a Skoda Superb when they were hit by a Nissan car which was travelling towards the city.
Police spoke to the defendant, who was identified as the driver of the other vehicle involved, and noted a smell of intoxicating liquor.
A preliminary breath test was conducted at the roadside resulting in a fail and, at 6.05pm, Reid was subsequently arrested.
Whilst in Lurgan Custody Suite, an evidential sample of the defendant’s breath was obtained which when tested gave a reading of 77mg of alcohol in 100ml of breath – over two times the legal limit.
Defence solicitor Jarlath Fields stated: “Mr Reid was very unfortunate. He is a retired civil servant and at this time had suffered a family bereavement which led him to turn to alcohol.
“On the day in question, he had been invited to the Armagh golf club by a family friend to discuss his predicament and he had consumed alcohol whilst there.”
He continued: “He then made the stupid decision to drive home. Fortunately none of the police officers were injured in the collision.
“This is a man who has been driving for over 50 years with no incident.”
District Judge Paul Copeland commented: “Mr Reid, not withstanding the nature of this offence, you are due credit for your guilty plea and your record to date.”
Reid was disqualified from driving 12 months and was ordered to pay a fine of £300, along with the offender’s levy of £15, within 12 weeks.
After being canvassed by Mr Fields, District Judge Copeland certified the defendant was suitable for the drink driving course which would see his ban reduced to one of nine months upon completion.