A P-PLATER caught with eight passengers in his car while drink-driving in Camperdown has been banned from driving for a year in what was described as a TAC advertisement in the making.
Jake Dowell, 19, of Fenton Street, Camperdown, pleaded guilty in the Warrnambool Magistrates Court to drink-driving and travelling with too many passengers in his vehicle.
He was convicted and fined $1000 with $110.40 costs and his driver’s licence was cancelled for 12 months.
Police alleged that on March 31 this year, Dowell was seen by police driving north along Camperdown’s Harrison Street in his Holden station wagon before he was intercepted.
Officers found two passengers lying in the rear of the station wagon, five passengers in the back seat and a passenger in the front.
Only one passenger was wearing a seatbelt.
Dowell was taken by police back to the Camperdown police station, where at 1.39am he recorded an evidentiary alcohol breath test of .117.
At the time, Dowell was a P-plater and only allowed to have one passenger aged between 16 and 21 years old in his vehicle. The eight passengers in the station wagon were all in that age bracket.
On April 5, the station wagon was impounded for a month.
Defence counsel Tony Robinson said the circumstances surrounding the offending was a TAC advertisement in the making, but there was no hoon driving or speeding involved.
He said police saw a number of people getting into a vehicle at a hotel, which he described as a beacon, and they pulled it over soon after.
Mr Robinson said Dowell had been at home in bed after drinking beer and mixed drinks when he was asked by mates to drive them to the Caltex service station to get some food.
From there Dowell drove to the Hampden Hotel, where he picked up some more mates who asked for a ride home at closing time.
Mr Robinson said police officers took Dowell home and his mother had a heartstopping moment when she answered the front door and found two police officers at her door.
He said Dowell had visited some of the parents of friends and told his football coach what had happened.
Camperdown senior coach Bernard Moloney then addressed the players at the next training session about the situation.
On top of the fines and licence suspension, Dowell will now have to complete a drink-driver and safe driver courses before getting his licence back and be required to have an alcohol interlock device fitted to any vehicle he drives.
Magistrate Jonathan Klestadt said Dowell’s ability to make proper decisions was clearly affected by the amount of alcohol he had consumed before he decided to drive.
He described Dowell as a normal, everyday young member of the community who had made poor decisions under the influence of alcohol.
Mr Klestadt agreed with Mr Robinson’s description of the circumstances of Dowell’s driving, saying it was fortunate the defendant was intercepted by police so quickly.
“We who attend this court regularly have seen what can happen. This has to be a learning experience for you,” the magistrate told Dowell.
“You will have to jump through a number of hoops before you can get your licence back.”