Crashed car during a row with his girlfriend

Craigavon Courthouse. INPT21-239.
Craigavon Courthouse. INPT21-239.

While he was driving a 19-year-old man had a row with his girlfriend and lost control of his car which crashed on the M12 slip road going towards Portadown.

Ben Russell, Elizabeth Terrace, Portadown, admitted dangerous driving on August 16 last year, excess alcohol in breath and failing to report an accident.

The court heard that police attended at Craigavon Area Hospital where they saw a female who had suffered a head injury from a road accident.

She said she had been the passenger in a car driven by the defendant and there had been a crash.

Police spoke to Russell who confirmed he had been driving on the slip road when he clipped a kerb and flipped the car. He flagged down a lorry which took them to hospital.

He told police: “I know I was drunk driving. I’ll give you my licence now. I don’t need to go to court.”

An evidential breath test gave a reading of 33 but a back calculation gave an estimate of 51 - the limit is 35.

The case had been adjourned from a previous court so that a pre-sentence report could be prepared.

A barrister representing the defendant said he was very lucky the matter did not go to the Crown Court.

He explained that Russell had a row with his girlfriend and lost control of the car before clipping the verge.

The lawyer said his client accepted culpability and was ashamed to be in court. There was a recommendation in the probation report for community service.

District Judge, Mrs Bernie Kelly, said this was a very serious incident and Russell was very lucky he did not have to attend a funeral.

She added that he could have been facing charges in a higher court after losing his temper when he was behind the wheel with alcohol on board.

For the two driving offences she imposed 120 hours community service and a 12 month driving ban.

Russell was fined £120 for failing to report an accident and ordered to pay a £15 offender’s levy.