17-month road ban for drink-driver who got stuck on tram track
An uninsured drink-driver who blundered on to a tram track - causing £6,000 of damage to his week-old Mercedes - has been handed a 17-month motoring ban.
Maurice Cooney was forced to raise the alarm at an office building after getting stranded on a tram-only section of the Midland Metro, causing five hours of disruption to services.
Birmingham Magistrates' Court heard that Cooney failed a breath test - which showed a reading of 86mcg, more than double the legal limit of 35mcg - after driving for 100 metres along the tracks at about 7am on Sunday November 6.
The 33-year-old, of Station Road, Donnington, Telford, Shropshire, admitted drink-driving, having no insurance, and causing a danger or inconvenience by obstructing the tracks near Birmingham's Snow Hill tram stop.
His solicitor Harjit Rashoda told magistrates the no insurance offence was an "oversight" linked to the acquisition of the 66-plate Mercedes.
Ms Rashoda told the court: "This is a gentleman entitled to full credit for his guilty pleas.
"He went to a nearby building and located a porter and alerted them to the fact that the vehicle was stuck on the tramlines. He told them to call the police."
Before the offence, the court heard, Cooney, who runs a personal training business, had travelled from Shropshire to Birmingham after being invited on a night out with friends.
His lawyer told magistrates: "He felt okay and foolishly made the decision to get up and drive his vehicle home.
"Once you are following the Metro line at the back of Snow Hill there is no way of turning back and he had to carry on. The line then rises and that's where he became stuck. He tried to turn left and right and couldn't move the vehicle either way.
"The vehicle is currently in the garage and it's going to cost £6,000 to repair. That's going to hit him in the pocket."
References from clients of Cooney were passed to magistrates, including one from a police firearms officer and another from an NHS worker.
Cooney - who has no previous convictions - accepted the offer of a drink-driving rehabilitation course which will reduce his ban by 17 weeks. He was fined £246 and ordered to pay prosecution costs of £135 and a £30 victim surcharge.