Over the limit chef banned after ‘truly disgraceful piece of driving’

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An over the limit chef from Bushmills collided with a taxi whose driver then followed him and took the keys off him.

However, Aaron Kerr (30), of Heronshaw, made off over fields towards his father’s house during the incident on Sunday December 11, Coleraine Magistrates Court heard. Kerr pleaded guilty to dangerous driving; driving with excess alcohol in his breath; and failing to stop, remain and report an accident after an incident in Ballycastle. He was banned from driving for a year and fined a total of £450 and ordered to pay compensation of £250 to the taxi driver.

A prosecutor said at 2.15am Kerr’s vehicle collided with the taxi and the driver phoned the incident in to police and followed. Kerr was swerving over the road and when the defendant was stopped he had the keys taken from him and then left the scene. Police tracked him down by checking on the last registered owner of the vehicle and found him in a kitchen. He was swaying and had an alcohol/breath level of 86 with the legal limit being 35. He admitted the offences during an interview. A defence lawyer said his client made a series of very bad decisions after working as a chef at a private function in Ballycastle and believed he was fit to drive home. He realised he was being followed and “felt intimidated” and took a turn off the main road with the intention of going to his father’s house and then pulled in, said the lawyer.

The lawyer claimed Kerr found the conduct of the taxi driver to be “aggressive” and decided to run across fields to his father’s house where he was given “two large glasses of whiskey”. The lawyer said the offences were “uncharacteristic” for the married father of two who was “deeply ashamed” and wished to apologise.

District Judge Amanda Brady said it was a “truly disgraceful piece of driving” but taking into account his clear record and plea of guilty she kept the driving ban to the minimum one year.