Stressed, sleep-deprived, six times over legal limit

It’s a “miracle” a man didn’t kill or injure someone as he drove from Cromwell to Queenstown while six times the legal limit, a judge says.

Alarmed motorists called the cops after seeing Cromwell orchardist Aaron Paul Nash, 47, driving the demanding 60km route on Sunday afternoon.

They saw him swerve across the centreline about 15 times — several times on double-yellows — and at one point he left the road entirely and crashed into a ditch.

But he kept going, and nearly hit a roadside barrier in the Kawarau Gorge.

On the Frankton-Ladies Mile Highway, near the Howards Dr intersection, he drifted left out of his lane, narrowly missing a cyclist
only by suddenly swerving back.

When stopped by cops near the Stalker Rd intersection, he was clearly drunk, slurring his speech and repeating himself, the police summary

He got out of his car and was ‘‘stumbling and staggering’’ towards the patrol car.

After a breath test gave a result of 1591mcg, he was charged with dangerous driving and drink-driving.

Counsel Louise Denton said the defendant had been highly stressed by his job, and his 3-month-old baby had affected his sleep.

He’d started drinking whisky in the morning, and made the poor decision to drive to the resort to join his wife and baby.

Judge Russell Walker told the defendant being stressed was no excuse.

‘‘I don’t buy that explanation.

‘‘It was a miracle you didn’t seriously hurt or kill someone.’’

He could only conclude the defendant was so drunk he was incapable of making a sensible decision about whether to get behind the wheel.

Nash was convicted and must pay total fines of $2250 and $130 in court costs.

After a 28-day stand-down, he can apply for an alcohol interlock licence.

He will be subject to supervision for 12 months to enable intervention for his alcohol issues.

Other sentences

● Dylan James Tall, 24, mechanic, of Lake Hayes Estate, indecent assault, January 5, 75 hours’ community work, emotional harm reparation $1000.

● Sam Hogg, 24, builder, of Hanley’s Farm, intentional damage (door), August 13; two charges of assault, December 2; theft ($131.43 groceries from Pak’n Save Queenstown), March 27-April 25; theft ($190.52 groceries from New World Queenstown), March 4-April 28, 140 hours’ community work, reparation $321.95.

● Steven Jozsef Sepsy, 38, chef, of Arrowtown, assault, February 6, emotional harm reparation $750.

● Trinity Serene Clegg, 21, cleaner, of Albert Town, assault, drink-driving (600mcg), Mount Iron Dr, October 8; sustained loss of traction, Wicklow Tce, December 29; 125 hours’ community work, disqualified 28 days, alcohol interlock provisions, nine months’ supervision.

● Rajkumar Choudhary, 30, bar manager, of Invercargill, assault in family relationship, December 28, Queenstown, discharged without conviction.

● Paulette Alejandra Galli, 36, of Queenstown, theft, March 24, discharged without conviction, ordered to pay $500 to Salvation Army.

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