A man whose car caught alight after hitting a guard rail has been fined thousands of dollars and disqualified from driving.
Luke Andrew John Birchall of Mudgee Street, Rylstone, pleaded guilty to a high-range drink-driving charge on March 23, 2022 at Mudgee Local Court.
In documents tendered to the court, police said about 2.30pm on Wednesday, February 9, 2022, Birchall was driving along Guntawang Road, Mudgee when his vehicle collided with a guard rail, causing it to come to a complete stop and catch fire.
The 30-year-old got out of the vehicle and walked a short distance down Guntawang Road.
Police arrived on scene and spoke with Birchall who said he had fallen asleep at the wheel.
After a positive roadside reading to alcohol, he was taken to Mudgee Police Station where he returned a breath analysis of 0.153.
Birchall admitted to police he had consumed seven full-strength beers without food before driving, with his first at 8am and last at 12pm.
In sentencing, Magistrate Greg Grogin said Birchall was "lucky to get out alive" and not be sent to jail.
"Alcohol is a problem for you which becomes a problem for our community," Mr Grogin said.
"On a scale of one to ten, it's up there. It is serious. You were not far from going to jail."
Birchall was fined $2,200, disqualified from driving for 12 months, sentenced to a 48-month interlock period and a two-year community corrections order (CCO).
As a condition of the CCO, Birchall must refrain from consuming alcohol for eight months.
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