Drunk learner driver crashes car

TEARAWAY teenager Christopher Bell, fuelled by vodka, was showing off doing burnouts in his dad’s ‘borrowed’ car outside a party when he lost control and crashed into a parked car.

But Bell is now close to burning out the court’s patience after walking out of a residential rehabilitation centre.

Bell, 19, of East Lismore, appeared before Lismore Local Court on Monday pleading guilty to high-range drink driving (0.185) and driving unaccompanied on a learner’s permit on October 14 last year.

Bell was doing burnouts at 10pm in Oakley Avenue when he smashed into the parked car.

Both vehicles were extensively damaged and had to be towed, although police facts stated Bell tried to restart his dad’s damaged car and leave the crash scene, but was restrained by people in the street.

When police arrived Bell had blood in his mouth and on his lips and at first denied being the driver, instead telling officers it was a mate who had already left the scene.

Witnesses identified Bell as the driver.

The matter was made worse because Bell was a learner driver who had only held his permit one month and should have had no alcohol in his system.

A breath analysis showed Bell to be nearly four times over the legal limit. He told police he drank 10 cans of vodka.

Asked by police if he had eaten anything with the vodka, Bell replied: ‘Hell no ... I wanted to get pissed real fast’.

The police facts stated while Bell was in custody at Lismore police station he was singing very loudly and playing air guitar.

On December 4, Bell breached his bail conditions by walking out of the Riverlands residential detox program.

Bell was also in breach of a two-year good behaviour bond after pleading guilty to assaulting a Lismore police officer on May 29 last year while being taken home drunk.

After threatening to spit on the officer, Bell kicked him in the groin.

Defence lawyer Rachael Thomas said her client had since been making progress doing a Lifestyles Solutions program.

Sentencing was adjourned to April 20 so the court could have an updated report on Bell’s progress.

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