Man found asleep at wheel with engine running - court hears

Limavady Courthouse.

Limavady Courthouse.

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A 28-year-old Eglinton man who fell asleep at the wheel of a car with the engine still running has been disqualified from driving for nine months.

Barry McLaughlin, whose address on court papers was given as Madison Avenue in Eglinton, was sentenced at Limavady Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday for being in charge of a vehicle while being unfit.

The court heard police were called by a member of the public on April 23, 2014, at approximately 5.10pm that there was a car stopped on the Moneyrannel Road. The court heard the engine was running and the car was stopped, nearer to the centre white line. The court heard the member of public tried to wake McLaughlin, and had switched off the ignition and removed the keys.

When police arrived, they tried to waken McLaughlin and called out ‘hello, it’s police’.

McLaughlin slowly stirred and and appeared drowsy. His pupils were very small and his speech was slurred. The court heard when McLaughlin stepped out of the vehicle, he was unsteady.

McLaughlin told officers he had been driving along the main road and pulled over on a back road because he was tired. The court heard a subsequent preliminary breath test returned a negative result.

McLaughlin was taken to a PSNI custody suite where he provided a blood sample which showed drugs, including cocaine and diazepam, were detected in his blood.

District Judge Liam McNally also imposed a fine of £250 and ordered McLaughlin pay a £15 offender levy.