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Drunk driver called police on himself

Drunk driver called police on himself

Saturday 06 June 2020

Drunk driver called police on himself

A motorist who had to call the emergency services himself when he crashed his van has been banned from driving for just under four years after drink driving.

Matthew John Martel (38) drove his van over the edge at Petils Bay, near Beaucette, during the covid-19 lockdown after drinking a number of cans of lager following an argument with his then-partner.

Petils Bay RTC

Pictured: The accident scene on 23 April.

Martel had been at home on 23 April, before driving his van from the Co-op on Nocq Road to the Bridge so he could buy more alcohol, before driving to Petils Bay. 

He then had the accident which left his van on the beach, and he called the Joint Emergency Services Control Centre to ask for help. When the emergency services attended he was found to be unsteady on his feet and his breath smelt of alcohol. He did a breath test which gave a reading of 107mcgs per 100ml, putting him just over three times over the legal limit which is 35mcg. 

Martel admitted having drunk "eight to nine cans" of lager which he had admitted was a "foolish thing to do".

His defence lawyer, Sam Steel said Martel couldn't offer an explanation for why he had done it, just that he "wasn't thinking straight" after an argument with his now-ex-girlfriend. 

Advocate Steel said Martel had driven to Petils Bay to "calm his nerves" and that he hadn't intentionally driven his car over the edge, and he had not intended to hurt himself or anyone else.

Martel is "full of remorse because he could have hurt himself or someone else" said Advocate Steel.


Pictured: Martel appeared before the Magistrate's Court for sentencing. 

Judge Graeme McKerrell said Martel had come very close to being given a custodial sentence for what was his second drink driving offence. His previous having been in 2002, when he was given a fine and ban from driving after being caught just over the limit.

Martel was given 110 hours of community service, instead of six weeks in prison. 

He was also banned from driving for four years, which was to run from the date he was granted bail on the condition not to drive, meaning his ban will run for another three years and 11 months from the date of his sentencing.

"You're the most dangerous form of drinker," Judge McKerrell told Martel, "according to the probation report, you're in denial about how much you drink," adding, "I'm sure your rate of consumption means you've built up a tolerance and you kid yourself that you can drive".

Judge McKerrell said Martel had had what was a potentially serious accident, as he was clearly not in control of the van because of the alcohol he had consumed, saying that he hopes "you well and truly wake up and smell the coffee".

Pictured: The accident occurred at Petils Bay. 


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