Warilla driver avoids jail after injuring man, daughter

A heavily drunk driver who ploughed head-on into a car along Shellharbour Road last December, injuring a man and his three-year-old daughter, has narrowly avoided jail.

Wade Newbold had a blood-alcohol level of more than four times the legal limit when he decided to drive himself home from a six-hour drinking session at a Windang hotel on December 13.

The Warilla father was trying to drive the short distance home when he lost control of his van travelling south along Shellharbour Road and ploughed head-on into oncoming traffic.

The collision, which trapped 34-year-old Newbold in his car, injured a man and his young daughter.

They had been driving around looking at Christmas lights together.

The father and daughter were taken to Wollongong Hospital, where the three-year-old had a piece of glass removed from her jaw and the man was treated for burns and abrasions to his body.

Newbold was cut from his car and spent several nights in hospital with concussion, bruising and a sprained ankle.

A blood sample revealed he had a blood-alcohol level of 0.233 at the time.

On Tuesday, Port Kembla Local Court heard that Newbold was stressed and suffering from alcoholism at the time of the offence.

The accident served as a wake-up call to the self-employed painter, who had no memory of the event.

He has since restricted his drinking and sought professional help to deal with his personal issues, the court heard.

The crime also voided Newbold's car insurance, leaving him with a $16,000 debt.

Magistrate Mark Richardson gave Newbold a 12-month suspended sentence, in light of his limited criminal record and strong prospects for rehabilitation.

He was also disqualified from driving for 16 months and fined $1500.