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Fast food crave sent drink-driver crashing into tree

Lochlan Philip
Lochlan Philip

A MERRY birthday bash for a mate left Lochlan Philips in strife when his fast food craving sent him crashing into a tree.

Philips, 20, was nearly five times the legal limit when he wrecked his Nissan Patrol 4WD in the crash at Tannum Sands.

Philips pleaded guilty in Gladstone Magistrates Court to driving under the influence at 8.30pm on Sunday, July 31. He had a blood alcohol level of .231.

Magistrate Melanie Ho told Philips it was one of the highest readings to come before her.

Police prosecutor Gavin Reece said witnesses told officers at the scene that Philips struck a tree on the Hampton Dr median strip.

They said he appeared to be heavily intoxicated and in shock.

Philips was taken by ambulance to Gladstone Base Hospital where a blood sample gave the .231 reading.

Lawyer Bradley Krebs said Philips suffered facial injuries including fractured sinuses, broken teeth, cuts and abrasions.

His uninsured Nissan Patrol, worth $6500, was written off.

Mr Krebs said the facts were not in dispute. He said Philips had well and truly got caught up at a friend's birthday party and "overindulged" that afternoon, his judgment significantly impaired.

Mr Krebs said Philips was four kilometres from home when he stopped off at a fast food drive-through.

When Philips drove off he leant down into the passenger footwell to grab his food and the Nissan veered off the road and slammed into the tree.

"He has no traffic history. He is no hoon who needs to be kept on a tight leash," Mr Krebs said.

"He fully co-operated with police and recognises he should not have been driving.

He is not a drinker and it was a one-off binge.

"He did a safety awareness tutorial and has suffered economically."

Mr Krebs said the former rugby league player had to have his dental damage fixed and later faced the cost of having an Interlock device fitted so he could drive, "a further sting in the tail".

Ms Ho fined Philips $1300 and disqualified his licence for 12 months, saying she reduced this because he had no criminal or traffic offences and had done the driving course.

"It is an exceptionally high alcohol reading," Ms Ho said.

"You hit a tree that jumped out in front of you and have suffered a lot."

She said the incident made no sense for someone with no history.

Topics:  court gladstone gladstonecourt gladstonemagistratescourt gladstone region


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