Drove over bridge on wrong side of road

Craigavon Bridge, Derry.

Craigavon Bridge, Derry.

A builder who drove the wrong way up the lower deck of the Craigavon Bridge in the early hours of Sunday, causing a police patrol to swerve to avoid a collision, told officers he was disoriented by the heavy fog that enveloped the city at the weekend.

Derry Magistrate’s Court heard how Aurel Sava, aged 23, of The Green, Convoy, was observed by police on the bridge at 3.10am on Sunday, travelling towards them on the wrong side of the road.

The police vehicle had to take evasive action in order to avoid a collision, a Public Prosecution Service solicitor explained. When police spoke to Mr Sava they discovered he did not have insurance, nor did he have a licence for the Ford Focus he was driving, the court heard. Mr Sava told officers that he was a Romanian citizen and as such had been confused as to what side of the road he should be driving. He also said he had been disoriented by the heavy fog, the court heard. The PPS solicitor told the court how Mr Sava, who had no previous convictions, had apologised to officers. Defence solicitor Paddy McDermott said the offence had occurred on a “very foggy night” and his client, who held a valid Romanian licence, was a self-employed builder who had only been in Ireland for four months.

District Judge Barney McElholm fined him £200 for no insurance, disqualifying him for three months. For the offence of no licence he was fined £50 and for driving without due care and attention he was fined £100.