Driver ‘nodded off’ at the wheel


A retired teacher “nodded off” at the wheel and careered into the path of a police vehicle which had to brake and swerve to avoid a collision.

Moreen Breen (73), of Duneira Park, had originally been charged with dangerous driving arising out of the incident at Moorfields Road between Larne and Ballymena at 1.55pm on Sunday, January 29 this year but it was downgraded to driving without due care and attention.

She pleaded guilty to the reduced charge at Ballymena Magistrates Court where a prosecutor said the pensioner’s car swerved at a 45 degree angle towards an oncoming police vehicle.

The police driver had to brake suddenly, sound a horn and drive on to a hard shoulder to avoid a collision.

The prosecutor said the defendant told police she “fell asleep” and later during an interview said: “I was just warm, I must have nodded off”.

An eye test was carried out which the defendant passed.

Defence solicitor Stewart Ballentine said his client had gone for a long walk that morning followed by a large lunch and on her way to visit her sister the car was hot.

Mr Ballentine said the defendant was “more than grateful” the police sounded their horn and that there were no injuries as the road was quite wide.

Imposing seven penalty points and a fine of £250, District Judge Peter King told the defendant she was extremely fortunate she was being dealt with for careless driving.