Mates tried to stop drink-driver

HIS FRIENDS tried to stop him but James Leonard Warner was determined to drive on February 9, despite being way over the legal alcohol limit.

The 27-year-old Granville man drove up the wrong side of Lennox Street that night and when police arrived he ran from his car and hid in some bushes.

A breath test confirmed what his mates already knew – Warner was drunk, with a reading of .177.

He had been drinking at the RSL and threatened to hotwire his car when a friend took his keys away – he got them back, however.

“I wouldn’t even know how to hotwire a car,” Warner told Magistrate John Smith when he appeared in custody in the Maryborough Magistrates Court.

Adding to the seriousness of his case was the fact Warner was suspended from driving after being caught drink-driving, on the same street, just three days earlier.

At 3.40am on February 6 Warner was pulled over on Lennox Street for a breath test. He blew .158.

Warner had a female passenger in the car.

Warner pleaded guilty in court to driving unlicensed and two counts of driving under the influence of alcohol.

He had spent three weeks in jail waiting for his case to be finalised and said he never wanted to go back.

“This has been a big wake-up call for me,” he said.

“I want to apologise to my friends who tried to help me that second night.

“I was completely intoxicated and don’t even remember driving.”

Prosecutor Sergeant Michael Quirk called for a prison sentence because of the danger Warner posed to the public and because of his driving history.

He had a previous drink-driving conviction from 2009 when he was caught driving with an alcohol concentration of .127.

Mr Smith said there was no excuse for Warner’s behaviour.

“Your friends tried to discourage you but you wouldn’t listen – you drove off and endangered the lives of other people,” he said.

Warner was fined $1500, disqualified from driving for four years and given a four-month jail term, which was wholly suspended for two years.

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