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Three-year ban for sleeping drink-driver

A St George’s man who fell asleep at the wheel after being involved in a crash has been banned from driving for three years.

Darren Pitt, 42, refused to give police a breath sample in two separate incidents last month.

He was first arrested on the afternoon of October 4 after a member of the public contacted police about his driving.

The witness said Pitt had veered off the road and over the centre line as he drove from Kindley Field to Devil’s Hole.

Police found Pitt parked in a Hamilton Parish yard, still in the car with the engine running, and noticed that he smelled of alcohol.

He agreed to provide a breath sample, but failed to do so at Hamilton Police Station.

Pitt was arrested a second time on October 27 after police received a report of an accident near the Aquarium.

When police arrived, they saw Pitt at the wheel of one of two damaged vehicles. He appeared to be asleep.

He woke up after police knocked repeatedly on the window, and smelled strongly of alcohol.

The court heard that Pitt was convicted of a similar offence in 2013.

Magistrate Maxanne Anderson fined Pitt $2,000 and banned him from driving all vehicles for three years for the first offence.

But she referred him to Drug Treatment Court for the second offence, with the warning that the penalty would otherwise be $4,000 and another five years off the road.

Also appearing before Magistrates’ Court was Zina Godwin, 54, who admitted driving while over the legal blood-alcohol limit.

The court heard the Pembroke resident was stopped by police at about 12.30am on October 13 as part of a roadside sobriety check on Spanish Point Road.

Godwin admitted drinking wine and appeared unsteady during a sobriety test, so she was asked to provide a breath sample.

She complied, with the portable test finding she had 197 milligrams of alcohol in 100 millilitres of blood — more than double the legal limit of 80 milligrams.

Godwin was arrested and taken to Hamilton Police Station, where she provided further breath samples, which produced even higher results.

Ms Anderson fined Godwin $1,200 and banned her from driving for 18 months.

Meanwhile, Tekle Ming, 36, admitted refusing to provide a breath sample in an incident on October 13.

The court heard the Hamilton Parish man was stopped by police at around 3.15am near Flatts Inlet after police saw his car veer across both lanes of the road.

After pleading guilty, he was fined $800 and banned from driving all vehicles for one year.

Ernest Mello, 55, received the same penalty after he refused a breath test shortly after midnight on March 11.

Prosecutors said police on Front Street saw Mello walk unsteadily to his car, which had been parked illegally, before getting in and driving.

The Southampton resident was stopped by officers a short distance away and admitted having two beers, but refused a breath test.

He reportedly told officers at the time he “knew the process” and that he did not have to take the test, but said in court through lawyer Victoria Greening he was not told it was an offence to refuse the test.

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