The late model blue ute after it crashed into a Gympie home.
The late model blue ute after it crashed into a Gympie home. Philippe Coquerand

Houses damaged as 2 drunk drivers run amok in Gympie region

TWO holiday season drink drivers literally "put it on the house” in Gympie Magistrates Court this week.

The men, 78 and 26, each drunkenly crashed into Gympie and Tin Can Bay homes.

A blood alcohol reading of .204 per cent was enough to lead Tin Can Bay driver Bevin Charles Coleman, 78, into trouble when he crashed into a neighbour's house in Bass St on December 28.

He registered the high-range blood alcohol reading during the mid-afternoon after he had been drinking.

And Aaron Jacob Sherlock, 26, a Provisional licence holder subject to a zero limit, blew .13 per cent after he crashed into a Hilton Rd dwelling on December 7.

Each pleaded guilty to the charges against them when they appeared in the Gympie court on Thursday.

Coleman, a pensioner, said he was emotional at the time after "an argument with my son and daughter”.

"I drank more than I otherwise would have,” he told the court. The court was told he drove off the road at 3.36pm and crashed into a brick wall.

His legal representative, duty solicitor Elizabeth McAulay, told the court Coleman had not realised the extent to which he was affected by alcohol.

His judgment may have been further affected by medication he was taking.

"It's a very high reading,” magistrate Chris Callaghan said. "You were well and truly under the weather. And this was a late lunchtime the next day.”

Mr Callaghan said he took into account that Coleman had been without a licence for some weeks already, after being immediately suspended as a result of his high reading.

He fined Coleman $1000 and disqualified him from driving for 10 months.

Sherlock admitted to driving without due care and attention and drink driving when he fronted the court.

He admitted driving with a blood alcohol reading of 0.13 per cent while on a Provisional license and subject to a zero limit at 8.40pm on the Friday night. The court was told a witness saw a blue Falcon utility crash into a dwelling.

A witness said he had seen Sherlock fishtailing the vehicle around the corner from Stanley Lane, before "a loud bang.” Sherlock told police he had consumed six cans of mixed spirits and was on his way to a bottle shop to buy more. Miss McAulay said Sherlock did not initially feel intoxicated. "It hit him on the way home,” she said.

"He blacked out for a couple of seconds and when he came to he was heading for a house.”

Mr Callaghan told Sherlock he needed to realise that "motor vehicles are dangerous things. "You get behind the wheel of one with that much alcohol on board and you become a dangerous weapon yourself.” He fined Sherlock $900 and disqualified him for five months, allowing for the fact that he had been without a licence since December.

Gympie Times


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