Drunk driver asleep on road, only went out 'for bogged mate'
THE headlights of Senior Constable James Dolby's patrol car pierced through the darkness of the quiet rural road about two kilometres from Mirani township.
As the police officer's car rounded a bend on Mirani-Mount Ossa Road, he found a Toyota Landcruiser stopped dead in the middle of the road.
Inside was Nebo man William John Mckay, catching up on a bit of shut eye - and, it turns out, more than twice the legal alcohol limit.
The 22-year-old mining operator was breath tested and recorded a blood alcohol level of 0.119, verging on a high-range reading.
Mckay fronted Mackay Magistrates Court on Monday, 21 days later, pleading guilty to driving while over the middle alcohol limit on April 2 at Mirani.
Prosecutor Nathaniel Gillis said a "concerned motorist" had contacted police about 4.15am via triple-0, reporting a vehicle stopped in the middle of the road.
"Police subsequently attended and located a white Toyota Landruiser wagon ... stopped in the middle of the road a few kilometres west of the Mirani township," he said.
"The rural area was in complete darkness, with no street lighting. The vehicle's headlights were not lit and the vehicle was stopped in the middle of the road.
"Light rain was falling at the time and visibility was poor."
Mr Gillis said the police officer on scene, Snr Const Dolby, found Mckay "asleep in the driver's seat, with it being reclined", and the keys in the ignition.
McKay woke, "smelt strongly of liquor" and had been "initially disorientated".
Mr Gillis said the Landcruiser had been moved off the road by police, and Mckay failed an initial breath test.
Mckay was taken to Mackay police station for a follow-up breath test at 6.27am, in which he recorded the result of 0.119.
Mr Gillis said Mckay "had been drinking at home in Nebo" before he received a phone call from a mate at Gargett, who had become bogged in his car.
"The defendant drove to Gargett and assisted his mate before consuming more alcohol at that location," Mr Gillis continued.
"The defendant did not recall driving to the offence location and does not recall stopping his vehicle in the middle of the road."
Magistrate Mark Nolan asked Mckay, who did not have a lawyer, whether he had anything to say for himself.
Mckay told the magistrate he drove to Gargett because his friend's "car was bogged in a creek and the rain was coming up".
He added he hadn't drunk in two hours before hopping behind the wheel, but "pulled it (his friend's car) out and had a couple of drinks then", before heading home.
Mckay recalled he had been running out of fuel when he stopped in the middle of the road.
Mr Nolan said "so many horrible things could have happened" due to Mckay's actions, and noted the fine he would hand down would likely cost more than simply calling a tow truck.
Mckay was fined $650 and disqualified from driving for five months.