A drunk driver who wrapped his 3 series BMW around a telephone pole while over twice the legal limit failed to contest the charges at Galway District Court this week and was fined and disqualified from driving for three years.
Slovakian native Jozef Pastorek, with an address at 68 Gleann Dara, Rahoon, appeared in court on Monday and denied the charge of drink driving at Barna Road on August 28, 2009. He had also been charged with careless driving on the same date.
Garda Mark Cunniffe told the court that at 7.20am he received a call to attend the scene of a road traffic collision at Barna Road. When he arrived he found a BMW which had collided with a telephone pole, and two men. Pastorek, who was the driver of the ill-fated vehicle, produced a Slovakian driving licence. He then complained of chest pains and cuts. The passenger also had injuries and an ambulance was called. Garda Cunniffe then said that he noticed that Pastorek’s eyes were bloodshot, that his speech was slurred, and that there was a strong smell of alcohol coming from his breath. He then formed the opinion that an offence had been committed under Section 49 of the Road Traffic Act.
The court heard that Garda Cunniffe accompanied Pastorek in the ambulance to UHG and a doctor later arrived to take a blood sample on behalf of the Gardai. The sample returned a reading of 163mgs of alcohol per 100ml of blood.
Defence solicitor Valerie Corcoran maintained that Garda Cunniffe had failed to comply with regulations with regard to providing her client with a sealed sample of the blood that was taken. She also said the charges should be dismissed as no evidence had been given of the time of driving and there were no witnesses to the careless driving.
However, Judge Mary Fahy refused to side with Ms Corcoran on any of the points raised, adding, “Crashing into a pole can be regarded as sufficent evidence. It’s a bit careless, isn’t it?”.
Pastorek, who is employed, was then convicted of drink driving and fined €650 with four months to pay and disqualified from driving for three years. For careless driving Pastorek was further fined €100. Leave to appeal was granted.