Drunk dad crashes with 6-year-old son in the front seat
A dad who crashed a car with his six-year-old son in a booster seat was breathalysed at nearly five times the legal limit, a court has heard.
Samuel James Bingham, 29, pleaded guilty to driving under the influence of liquor in the Caloundra Magistrates Court on Wednesday.
Police prosecutor Phillip Stephens said witnesses saw a man driving erratically with his son in the car on June 6 at 3.30pm.
“The defendant was driving his mother’s vehicle and his young son was seated in a booster seat in the front passenger seat,” he said.
“Witnesses have seen the front-passenger-side tyre was damaged and deflated and the defendant continued to drive.”
The court heard witnesses had told police it appeared that Bingham was sleeping at the wheel.
“The defendant continued to drive for another kilometre on Caloundra Rd, Little Mountain which damaged the front wheel,” Sergeant Stephens said.
“The defendant’s driving was very erratic.”
The court heard Bingham then mounted a roundabout, striking a road sign before coming to a stop in a garden bed.
“Witnesses have approached the defendant who was unsteady on his feet, verbally abusive and aggressive,” Sergeant Stephens said.
“He’s then removed his young child from the crash vehicle and started to walk west along Caloundra Rd.”
The court heard police arrived a short time after and witnesses gave them details of the incident.
“Police located the defendant, he was grossly intoxicated and unsteady on his feet,” Sgt Stephens said.
“The defendant at this point has denied being the driver of the vehicle but was unable to tell police how he and the child arrived at the location.”
Bingham was breathalysed and returned a reading of 0.239.
The court heard while at the police station, Bingham admitted he had been the driver of the vehicle in the crash.
“This is obviously a serious example of drink driving,” Sgt Stephens said.
“It wasn’t a random breath test, obviously he was grossly intoxicated.”
Bingham’s lawyer Chelsea Emery told the court Bingham had other serious allegations made against him which he planned to contest.
“That has caused him stress,” she said.
“He was fishing with his son at Golden Beach.
“It wasn’t his intention to drink, but he purchased alcohol for later and started consuming it.
“There’s already been some significant punishments imposed.”
Ms Emery told the court Mr Bingham had been driving his mother’s car, which was now a write-off from the crash.
The court heard as a result of the offence Bingham now had restrictions on seeing his son.
“Child Safety actually became involved for a short period of time, they quickly closed their case but the mother of his son hasn’t forgotten,” Ms Emery said.
The court heard Bingham had limited criminal history and had not consumed alcohol since the accident, as well as seeking help.
Ms Emery told the court Bingham was studying primary school education, but was now considering changing degrees.
“It will have implications on his future as a primary school teacher and he will lose his position of employment now,” she said.
Magistrate Haydn Stjernqvist said it was a serious and significant offence.
“Aggravated of course by the fact you were 0.239 with your son in the car, six years old in a booster seat with a car that’s basically not worthy of being driven,” he said.
He fined Bingham $1300 and disqualified him from driving for 11 months.
A conviction was recorded.