A Woonona driver who blew more than seven times the legal alcohol limit after downing two bottles of wine in less than four hours will likely avoid jail time.
Nicholas Hendleman, 46, was ordered to undergo an assessment for an intensive corrections order in Wollongong Local Court this week after pleading guilty to a charge of high-range drink driving.
Court documents said Hendleman was driving his Holden Captiva south on Memorial Drive at Corrimal on June 2 when he ran into the back of a Toyota Yaris that was stationary at a set of traffic lights.
The Yaris driver, uninjured, got out of the car and approached Hendleman, later telling police she detected a strong smell of alcohol coming from his vehicle.
When she asked Hendleman if he’d been drinking, he responded “yes”.
Police arrived at the scene a short time later and arrested Hendleman.
They said he had slurred speech, was “extremely unsteady on his feet” and very emotional, tearfully telling the other driver that he was sorry for what had occurred.
He subsequently returned an alcohol reading of 0.356 when breath tested at Wollongong Police Station.
When questioned, Hendleman admitted he’d drunk two 700ml bottles of wine between 10am and 1.50pm. The crash occurred about 2pm.
In documents tendered in court, the officer in charge of the case said they were “shocked” at the reading, which they said was one of the highest they’d ever seen.
“Police believe that it was only luck that the accused did not have a serious accident or kill anyone due to his level of intoxication,” court documents said.
The case will return to court on October 2 for a determination of the ICO assessment, which, if successful, means Hendleman will serve his sentence in the community.