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Man crashed into motorway barrier after falling asleep at the wheel

Defendant had worked two 12-hour shifts and driven 200 miles

A man who crashed into a barrier after falling asleep at the wheel on a busy motorway junction had driven 200 miles and worked two 12-hours shifts.

And in a court sequel, Richard John Heaney, from Bushmills, pleaded guilty to driving without due care or attention when he appeared before Craigavon Magistrates’.

The court was told that on March 27, at around 6pm, the 32-year-old had fallen asleep behind the wheel at junction 11 of the M1 motorway, before veering into a barrier and motorway sign.

The vehicle came to a halt on a grass verge above a considerable drop.

When interviewed by police, he said he had worked two 12-hour shifts and driven 200 miles.

Defence barrister David McKeown accepted it had been “very foolish”, adding the defendant should never have driven if he felt that tired.

Court heard Heaney was currently disqualified and would remain so for the next 10 months.

Mr McKeown also said the defendant was holding on to his job as a civil engineer “by his fingernails”.

District Judge Bernie Kelly told Heaney: “This is one the busiest times on that road. You could have killed someone –  how can you be so selfish?”

She added: “Yet again, he can drive whilst drunk, so yes, he is a selfish driver”.

Heaney was handed a six-month driving ban and ordered to pay a fine of £150, along with the £15 offender’s levy, within eight weeks.

District Judge Kelly warned him: “If you drive like this again you will be off the road for a much longer time.”

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