'You were holding stubbies': Drunk driver jailed
A DRUNK driver clutches onto a pack of beer while he tells police he was not driving, despite being the flipped car's sole occupant.
Gordon Dennis, 42, faces imprisonment after pleading guilty to ten charges in Kingaroy Magistrates Court on January 21.
He was charged with the dangerous operation of a vehicle while being intoxicated on July 13, 2018.
Magistrate Louisa Pink told Dennis he was a danger to the public.
"Before you kill or seriously injure someone else on the road, I am sentencing you today for a period of six months," she said.
Magistrate Pink said Dennis was driving a white Ford Falcon along the Brisbane Valley Highway at Glen Esk.
"Witnesses said they saw that the vehicle was going much faster than the other cars and overtook a tow truck which was driven by another witness and nearly had a head on crash," she said.
"The driver of the tow truck said when you pulled back into the left hand lane, you cut off his tow truck and he said he had to break heavily to avoid being hit by your vehicle."
The court heard the car had swerved into the left hand lane and lost control before rolling several times.
It stopped off the side of the highway landing on its roof.
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Dennis then climbed out of the driver's side window.
Magistrate Pink said the man had denied being the driver and told police he was a passenger.
"Evidence from a witness said he was standing right next to your car when you climbed out of the driver's side, no one else was there."
She said police officers reported a strong indication the man was intoxicated.
"You had slurred speech, you were unsteady on your feet and you smelt of liquor, you had dilated pupils and you were dishevelled," she said.
"You were holding a six pack of XXXX Gold stubbies."
The court heard the car had no number plates, was unregistered and uninsured.
Defence lawyer Chris Campbell said the defendant made full admissions to police after denying being the driver.
"When police pointed out the fact that there was no other persons present after the accident, he then confessed up and told police where he was travelling from, what he had consumed and why he was driving," he said.
Mr Campbell said the man's 87-year-old mother, whose health was significantly failing, had been in and out of an Ipswich hospital.
He said Dennis calls himself an alcoholic, and is prescribed medications for various mental health illnesses but had not been taking them at the time.
"My client drinks so he doesn't have to deal with the stresses of his life," Mr Campbell said.
"Although he doesn't drink every day, when he does drink, your honour, it can be quite high in consumption."
Mr Campbell said a friend now drives the defendant to visit his mother in hospital.
Magistrate Pink said a week earlier Dennis was charged with doing burnouts in an unregistered and uninsured car on July 7.
Prosecutor Pepe Gangemi said the crash occurred days before the defendant appeared in court for careless driving in April last year.
"This is not his first crash whilst under the effect of alcohol," he said.
Magistrate Pink said the man had been sentenced to jail for two months and had his licence disqualified for 15 months on July 16 for the careless driving.
"I'm satisfied that a strong deterrent sentence is necessary today because you were involved in a crash in April last year when you were under the influence of liquor, the same as today," she said.
"I take into circumstance his mother, but he is simply too great a risk on the roads."
Dennis was sentenced to six months' imprisonment for the dangerous operation of a vehicle while being intoxicated.
His parole release date was set for March 21.
His licence was also disqualified for 12 months.
The man was fined $520 for two counts of driving an uninsured vehicle, and was fined $260 for not driving in a safe condition.
The defendant's licence was disqualified for three months for being a repeat offender of driving without a licence.
His licence was also disqualified for two years for driving on a suspended licence.
"Your licence disqualification period is now very significant, some of those will add on top of the others," Magistrate Pink said.
He was also convicted but not further punished for committing a public nuisance, two counts of driving an unregistered car and wilfully making unnecessary noise or smoke.
All convictions were recorded.