Six times over the limit, but he escapes jail

MICHAEL GEORGE WHALLEY can't remember how many straight vodkas he drank before he climbed behind the steering wheel of his white Land-Rover Discovery on April 29.

But he will never forget yesterday when Lismore Local Court Magistrate Nick Reimer gave him the benefit of the doubt and suspended the 18-month jail term he had just been handed.

Whalley, 42, of Dorroughby, was found with more than six times the legal limit of alcohol in his bloodstream after he had crashed his car into a tree at Eureka Road, Rosebank.

A motorist following Whalley saw his car swerving across the road.

Whalley pulled over and the motorist stopped to see if he was okay.

Whalley told the man 'I'm f----d' and then accelerated the Land-Rover away.

He lost control of the vehicle a short distance away and crashing into a tree.

Whalley's face hit the steering wheel, breaking his nose and knocking him unconscious.

Police and ambulance officers attended and Whalley was taken to Lismore Base Hospital for treatment. A blood analysis revealed he had a blood alcohol content of 0.309.

In Lismore Local Court yesterday Mr Reimer said it was Whalley's second high-range drink-driving offence.

Fortunately for Whalley, this drink-driving offence happened more than five years after the first, otherwise he would be spending time in jail.

Whalley received a supervised 18-month suspended sentence and was also ordered to attend a Sober Drivers Program.

He was also disqualified from driving for three years.

According to the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre very high blood alcohol levels can cause a person to have fits, lose consciousness and slip into a coma.

The drinker's breathing and heart could then stop because the depressant effects of the alcohol slow the brain and nervous system.

Death can sometimes occur when drinkers are unconscious.

Sometimes, after the drinker falls unconscious they can vomit and choke.

On other occasions an unconscious drinker can swallow their own tongue, choke and die.

A drunk can also die from exposure because alcohol affects their body's ability to regulate its own temperature.

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