Drink driver 'lucky' not to be jailed

A Wollongong magistrate has slammed a Mt Ousley P-plater who decided to drink-drive with his younger brother in the car, just minutes before his vehicle spun out of control and crashed into an embankment.

Magistrate Michael Stoddart said Joshua Gregory Barker's family was lucky to still have two sons after the 27-year-old drove with a blood alcohol level nearly three times the legal limit.

"You were really lucky you or your brother weren't hurt ... this is a classic case of a young driver getting behind the wheel after drinking," he told Wollongong Local Court yesterday.

"Had somebody been seriously injured or worse, then you could be serving a jail sentence."

Barker, who pleaded guilty to drink-driving, was heading south along the Kings Highway, near Batemans Bay, with his 20-year-old brother in the passenger seat when he lost control of the car which hit an embankment on the opposite side of the road before it spun 180 degrees, hit a tree and ended up in an embankment on the right side of the road.

Police arrived a short time later to find Barker in the driver's seat and his brother sitting on the side of the road.

Neither man was injured.

Barker told officers he had lost control coming around a bend and crashed but police noted he appeared unsteady on his feet and reeked of alcohol.

Barker then revealed he had drunk seven beers at a nearby pub.

He registered a 0.149 blood alcohol reading.

The court heard Barker had attended a party at the Steam Packet Hotel in Nelligen, near Batemans Bay, on September 22 and was planning to stay at the pub when an incident occurred and he decided to leave.

The court was told the offence was out of character and Barker had shown clear remorse for his actions.

Magistrate Stoddart fined Barker $1800 and disqualified him from driving for 12 months.

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