Drink-driver swigged from vodka bottle in car as cops quizzed him outside home
A retired Co Antrim shop owner drank from a bottle of vodka in his car as officers questioned him after his erratic driving at 11.40 in the morning prompted concerned members of the public to call police.
Bryce Currie (70) was sitting in his vehicle at his home at Seacon Road outside Ballymoney, Co Antrim, when police caught up with him on January 27 this year, Coleraine Magistrates Court was told yesterday.
He is well-known in Ballymoney and was in business so long that the location of his former shop is known to this day as Currie's Corner.
He and his wife ran a fashion business in a store at the junction of Main Street and Church Street in the town.
In court a prosecutor said a motorist reported to police a car was being driven erratically at Newbridge Road in Ballymoney.
Another concerned driver also called in.
Police spoke to Currie, who was sitting in the driver's seat of his car at his home.
There was a bottle of vodka beside him from which he took a drink as officers were dealing with him.
Currie had an alcohol/breath reading of 88, with the legal limit being 35, and in court he pleaded guilty to driving with excess alcohol.
A defence lawyer said his client was a retired businessman who had worked in Ballymoney all his life.
He said Currie had been drinking heavily the night before the offence ahead of visiting his widowed sister in the morning, as he always did twice a week.
The lawyer told the court that Currie had endangered himself and others and "abhors" his behaviour.
District Judge Liam McNally said that normally with such a high drink reading he would ban a driver for 15 months, but given Currie's previously clear record he reduced it to 13 months, along with a £250 fine.