Ban for drink-driver who towed caravan with son in car
A man three times the drink-drive limit "recklessly" drove a car towing a caravan through a popular north coast caravan park while his seven-year-old son was beside him in the front passenger seat, a court heard yesterday.
Steven Winston McBride (43), of Dunminning Road, near Ballymena, was stopped in Juniper Hill Caravan Park in Portrush on the afternoon of July 8. When police investigated the caravan, they found it littered with empty beer cans.
McBride, who works for the Rivers Agency, had an alcohol breath reading of 111 micrograms per 100 millilitres of breath. The legal limit is 35 micrograms.
A prosecutor told Coleraine Magistrates Court that a member of the public contacted police to say a man was "recklessly" driving a Ford Mondeo with a caravan attached.
McBride pleaded guilty to charges of driving with excess alcohol and absence of insurance.
A defence lawyer told the court that her client, who had alcohol difficulties a number of years ago, was now on anti-depressants because of his actions. She also explained that the incident happened after McBride was given contact with his son and decided to book a week with the boy in the caravan park.
Once there, he realised he had forgotten a microwave oven, and was on his way to get it when officers stopped him in the park.
The lawyer said she was happy someone had reported her client to the police before something terrible happened.
"You couldn't even imagine what would have happened if he had got on to the main road," she added. "That is a blessing."
After the drink-driver was arrested, his son was picked up from a police station by his mother. McBride's contact with the child is now in jeopardy.
District judge Liam McNally told him: "This was an appalling scenario where you are heading from a caravan site towing a caravan, you are uninsured and you have your seven-year-old son in the seat while you have a reading three times over the legal limit."
He imposed a four-month prison term, suspended for two years, banned the defendant from driving for 16 months and fined him £250.