Gladstone officers see young man in ute's rear tray

POLICE got an eye full when officers on patrol saw a boozed-up driver of a black Holden ute lose control and plough into a small tree beside the road.

But what really worried Gladstone officers was seeing a young man riding dangerously in the ute's rear tray being bounced about.

Prosecutor Sgt Barry Stevens said police witnessed the ute travelling at 9.50pm with the male in the back tray riding unrestrained.

The ute swerved, mounted a kerb and ran over a small bushy tree, Sgt Stevens saying the man had struggled to hold on. When stopped its driver Hayden Caughey, 21, (pictured) told police he knew his mate was in the tray.

He had been in the tray to hold down firewood that they had just picked up.

"He says he just misjudged the corner and did not realise how fast he entered it," Sgt Stevens told the Gladstone Magistrates Court.

Caughey's breath test gave an alcohol reading of 0.125 - well over twice the legal limit.

Caughey pleaded guilty to drink driving on January 29; driving without due care and attention; and having an unrestrained passenger not wearing a seatbelt in the Gladstone suburb of New Auckland.

"That day I lost my job, finished my time as an apprentice," Caughey told magistrate Jeffrey Clarke.

"(I realise) it could have ended up a lot worse than it did."

Mr Clarke said references spoke very well of him but he his offending had been quite a falling down.

However, he complimented Caughey in his behaviour while attending court, saying his attitude had been very respectful. "I'm sure you have reflected on how ridiculous it was," he said.

"No doubt the reason you said you misjudged the corner was the level of alcohol.

"With an alcohol reading of 1.25 you certainly should not have been driving."

Mr Clarke fined Caughey $1000. He disqualified him from driving for five months.

Because of his lack of prior offending a conviction was not recorded.



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