Crash driver drinking ‘to calm his nerves’ when police arrived

After causing a high-speed crash and more than $6000 of damage, it is best not to be swigging bourbon and cola when police arrive.

Connor James Vickery (24) told officers he was an alcoholic and "needed to calm his nerves" after the spectacular smash in Riselaw Rd on August 13.

He earlier pleaded guilty to drink-driving and careless driving and was sentenced this week in the Dunedin District Court to 400 hours’ community work, nine months’ supervision and disqualified from driving for a year.

Outside court, Vickery quipped it was time to head home for a drink, before adding that that might not be such a good idea.

His counsel, Chris Lynch, earlier emphasised to the court her client wanted to do something about his alcohol issues and was seeking treatment.

Vickery was driving his Toyota around South Dunedin when he stopped to buy fuel.

The chatty customer disclosed to staff he had been drinking and they promptly alerted authorities once he had left.

While police patrols could not find the defendant, they were called to a crash in Riselaw Rd 45 minutes later.

A ute towing a trailer had pulled out of a driveway as Vickery sped over the brow of a hill, the court heard.

The victim accelerated to try to move from the defendant’s path but could not avoid a collision.

Vickery braked heavily and skidded more than 40m before hitting the axle of the trailer.

The marks on the road measured by crash investigators showed he slid another 27m after the impact before slamming into two parked cars.

When police spoke to Vickery he was drinking bourbon and cola from an unlabelled plastic bottle, court documents said.

A breath test gave a reading of 984mcg and the defendant requested a blood sample be analysed too. The level of 199mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood is nearly four times the legal limit.

Judge Turner imposed reparation of $6638.

Vickery was only able to pay off the sum at $20 a week as he was on a benefit.