Drink driver was found behind row of trees

A 24-year-old Katesbridge man was found hiding behind a row of trees after he tried to flee from police.

Jason Hillis from Tanvally Road was banned from the roads for 16 months for drink driving and fined £275. He was fined £75 for obstructing police and given a £15 offender’s levy.

Last week’s court heard how police in Banbridge on March 1 at 1.20am spotted a Volkswagen Golf parked and angled towards a parking bay at Bridge Street.

They watched Hillis get out of the driver’s seat and walk away towards the footpath.

Police pulled up alongside and noted damage caused to the nearside wheel. They shouted at Hillis to stop but he ran off towards Rathfriland Street. Officers followed him, shouting at him several times to stop.

Eventually he was found hiding behind a row of trees close to a vacant property. He was arrested and a breath sample taken at the local station revealed 95mg of alcohol in 100ml of breath.

Solicitor Mr Emmett Kelly said Hillis apologised to the police and the court for his behaviour.

“He had been at a party in a local pub and hadn’t intended to drive home. He couldn’t get a taxi and attempted to drive home. His front wheel hit the kerb.”

Mr Kelly said his client had panicked but when he attended the police station, he co-operated fully.

The court heard that Hillis has worked as a stone mason for the past seven years and requires his licence to allow him to visit various sites.

“These were foolish actions and appreciates he will have to accept the circumstances.”

The court also heard that Hillis works alongside Banbridge Rangers Football Club youth teams and is highly regarded. A character reference from the club was handed in.

District Judge Mr Paul Copeland said, “This was highly irresponsible and it was obvious from the way in which your vehicle came to a stop, that you were highly intoxicated and a danger to other road users and yourself. It was futile to try and get away.”