Wake up call for drunk driver found passed out in a ditch

A YAMBA P-plater has been given a "big wake-up call" after police found him passed out in a ditch five metres from his Holden Commodore, with the keys on his chest.

Zac Turner, 18, recorded a blood alcohol reading of 0.136 - more than two times the legal limit - after being roused by police about 3.45pm on March 12.

The attending officers were in the area as a result of a number of phone calls from members of the public who described a white Commodore swerving into oncoming traffic and across double unbroken lines on Summerland Way at Trenayr.

Footage from a civilian's dash cam later confirmed the manner of driving.

Appearing in Grafton Local Court yesterday, defence solicitor Joe Fahey said Turner had a "bender" the night before and acknowledged he was over the limit when he started the trip, and had pulled over onto the side of the road before police arrived.

Mr Fahey said the charge had been a wake up call for the teenager, who had recently finished a carpentry apprenticeship but lost his job due to lack of transport.

As well as the financial loss, Turner's car was broken into and damaged while he was in custody, costing about $2000.

Magistrate Robyn Denes noted the legal alcohol limit for p-platers was zero for a reason, being that they were inexperienced and needed to focus more on driving.

"In regards to job prospects, hopefully this is your wake up call that driving is a privilege, not a right," she said.

On the charge of special (mid) range drinking driving, Turner was convicted and fined $1000, with a nine month driving disqualification.



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