P-plater Shannon Matthew Gallagher was five times the limit when be drove around Cairns in January this year.
P-plater Shannon Matthew Gallagher was five times the limit when be drove around Cairns in January this year. Facebook

P-plater drove while he was five times the limit

A MAGISTRATE told a Mackay P-plater "going to jail was better than dying" after the teen destroyed a car driving in Cairns with a 0.251 per cent reading.

Shannon Matthew Gallagher, who must have a zero reading, was five times the limit when he crashed into a road sign and light pole on the Captain Cook Hwy in Cairns then tried to drive home.

Police stopped the "almost destroyed" car about 1.30am on January 29 this year near Holloways Beach.

"The left rear tyre was off the rim, the whole left side had been crashed in, the left window smashed, the roof crushed down, the boot crushed, the rear window smashed, rear light smashed, and the entire front bumper and plate was missing with the bonnet also crushed in," senior prosecutor Sheena Gravino said.

"Due to the extent of the damage to the vehicle it was clear it had been involved in a high impact collision."

Mackay Magistrates Court heard the sign had been ripped from the ground, a light pole knocked flat and the vehicle's front bumper and registration number was laying on the road.

The court heard Gallagher only received minor injuries in the crash, which Acting Magistrate Athol Kennedy said was extremely lucky.

"I may send you to prison for up to nine months ... going to jail is better than dying I suppose," Mr Kennedy said.

Gallagher, 19, pleaded guilty to high-range drink-driving.

Defence solicitor Geoff Govey, of Taylors Solicitors, said the teen had not intended to drive that night.

He had drunk seven ciders and then bought a bottle of rum with a friend. Mr Kennedy said he was amazed the teen was even able to start the car.

"I regret it all," Gallagher told the court.

He had been living and working in Cairns, but has since moved back to the Mackay region and is now living at Armstrong Beach.

He was placed on 12 months probation and disqualified from driving for 10 months.

The court heard he had not driven since the offence.