Driver causes $200,000 in damage
A DRINK driver has been fined $1500 after his car smashed into a bus and an Ipswich child care centre causing almost $200,000 in damages.
Samuel Ernest Westphal was more than four times the legal alcohol limit when he ignored a give-way sign at a Goodna intersection and crashed into a bus.
The impact of the collision caused both vehicles to slide across the road and slam into the Kaleidoscope Kids Early Learning Centre in Alice Street at 8.45pm, causing $125,000 in damages.
Westphal was taken to Ipswich Hospital where his blood alcohol reading was 0.219.
Ipswich Magistrates Court heard the 26-year-old claimed he had no memory of the incident on June 21 but he was drinking at a friend’s place before getting behind the wheel.
Westphal pleaded guilty to driving under the influence of liquor and failing to give way.
He was fined $1500 and his licence was disqualified for 15 months.
Defence lawyer Matthew Fairclough said his client, a tiler, decided to take his car home a short distance after drinking so he could drive to work the next morning.
He said Westphal had no previous convictions for drink driving and was taking anti-depressant medication which affected his tolerance to alcohol.
Mr Fairclough said that as well as money, Westphal owed the bus company and child care centre, he was out of pocket $10,000 in damages to his own vehicle.
The court heard Westside Bus Company was pursuing Westphal for $54,200 and the child care centre was seeking $125,000.
Magistrate Haydn Stjernqvist told Westphal the crash was an example of the dangers of drink driving.
“This is the very situation that the authorities are warning people about over and over again,” Mr Stjernqvist said.
“You would’ve been aware of the warnings and the dire consequences of driving with alcohol on board, let alone to the extent with the reading you had.”
Luckily there were no passengers on the bus at the time and the child care centre was closed for the night.