Court hears lorry driver was three times drink limit

Witnesses saw a lorry “swerving all over” the M2 motorway near Antrim town and the driver was more than three times the drink drive limit when pulled over by police.

Wednesday, 17th November 2021, 9:37 am

Zbigniew Nowak (45), of Summerfield Street in Ballymena, admitted driving with excess alcohol in his breath in relation to the Friday rush-hour at 5.30pm on October 22 this year. A prosecutor told Antrim Magistrates Court, sitting in Ballymena, when police arrived behind the lorry it was “straddling” the hard shoulder and the motorway and despite blue lights being used to get it stop it took “300 metres” to come to a halt. Officers noticed the defendant had heavy eyelids and slurred speech. When escorted from the passenger side of the vehicle the defendant fell at the bottom step and had to be assisted to a police car as he was so unsteady on his feet. The defendant had a reading of 109 microgrammes of alcohol per 100 millilitres of breath - the legal limit is 35. The prosecutor said the defendant had been a lorry driver for eight years.

Defence solicitor John McAtamney said the defendant lost his job as a result of the incident.

District Judge Nigel Broderick said “somewhat unusually” he wanted a pre-sentence report in the case as it was a “very high reading, driving a large vehicle, swerving on the motorway. It is very dangerous”. The case was adjourned to December 14 for a pre-sentence report. The defendant was given an interim driving ban with the length of the disqualification to be fixed at the next court date.

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