Truck driver was over limit in drive through

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After he had been drinking a Tandragee man took his father’s tow truck to go and get food but staff at the drive through restaurant reported him to police.

He was 23-year-old Rodney Watson, Mullavilly Road, Tandragee, and he admitted a number of offences when he appeared last Wednesday at Craigavon Magistrates Court.

For driving with excess alcohol on August 24 last year he was fined £300 and banned for 18 months.

He was also fined £200 and given a concurrent 12-month ban for not having insurance while £100 fines were imposed for obstructing a police officer and driving without a supervisor.

Watson was fined £200 for taking a vehicle without the owner’s consent and £50 for not displaying ‘L’ plates.

As well he was ordered to pay a £15 offender’s levy.

The court heard that police received a report from staff at McDonald’s in Meadow Lane, Portadown, about a drunk driver in a recovery lorry getting food at the drive through.

They found Watson sitting in the vehicle at Mullavilly Road.

The keys were in the ignition, the engine was on and the defendant appeared to be crying.

He was arrested and initially gave a false name but other people at the scene called him by his own name. An evidential breath test gave a reading of 63.

Watson only held a provisional licence and he was not insured. The vehicle belonged to a business and he had no permission to drive it.

When interviewed later he admitted driving the vehicle. He said he took the keys off his sister’s mantelpiece and did not ask for permission.

It was a stupid mistake and he should not have done it, he added.

A solicitor representing Watson said it was a medium size recovery vehicle.

She explained that the defendant had suffered a break up with his long term partner and he had been receiving treatment for depression.

The solicitor added that Watson had been drinking with family members that evening and it was the drink and depression that caused him to act extremely foolishly.

She said he acted on the spur of the moment and decided to go into Portadown to get something to eat.

It was his father’s tow truck and he had taken it from his father’s yard, added the solicitor.