Public praised for stopping drink-driver

Court House-general 3A judge has commended members of the public who stepped in to stop a drunk-driver who was weaving across his lane south of Christchurch.

“Good on the other motorists for stepping in,” said Judge Brian Callaghan as he dealt with the 60-year-old driver in the Christchurch District Court.

Ernest Stephen Millar, from Burnham Camp, pleaded guilty to driving with excess breath alcohol – he blew more than four times the legal limit – and careless driving on Rolleston Drive, at Rolleston.

Judge Callaghan fined him a total of $1300 and disqualified him from driving for nine months.

He said he was imposing extra disqualification because of “the high reading and the manner of driving”, but also noted that Millar had never been convicted before.

Millar blew 1059mcg of alcohol to a litre of breath. The legal limit is 250mcg.

Police said Millar was noticed driving badly by members of the public on Brougham Street in Christchurch about 5.40pm on February 21. One of them reported the driving to police by cellphone.

Millar was then seen driving at 90km an hour along Halswell Junction Road and on towards Rolleston, while other motorists called the police.

On State Highway 1, Millar was seen swerving in his lane and causing on-coming traffic to pull to the left.

In the New World supermarket carpark at Rolleston, members of the public followed him and tried to get the keys from him. That led to a struggle before police arrived.

Millar told police he was driving home to Burnham after spending the day socialising with family. He had had four or five glasses of wine.

Defence counsel Donald Dickson handed the judge a letter from Millar and said he could pay off a fine at $20 a week. He had no previous convictions.

Judge Callaghan read the letter and said Millar had drunk too much “because of a bit of an issue with family”. However, alcohol and drink-driving did not seem to be a major issue for him.


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