A MAN who drove drunk, crashed his car and had to be taken by helicopter to Liverpool Hospital suspected his drink had been spiked at the Royal Hotel in Manildra.
Staff at the venue told police the 61-year-old had been served seven beers in the five hours before the crash and had to be cut off and asked to leave because he was intoxicated.
John James Taylor was pinned under his car on Banjo Paterson Way on December 21 about 10.20pm.
His solicitor Peter Ringbauer told Orange Local Court on Thursday his client has no recollection of the incident and he did not believe the collision was severe enough to cause memory loss.
“He has serious doubts as to whether something else was put into his drink,” Mr Ringbauer said.
Police facts said his blood-alcohol reading of 0.109 grams, taken from a blood sample at the hospital, would have been higher except for the time it took for the sample to be collected after the collision.
Taylor had attempted to drive home to his Myrtleford Road property but missed the turn-off by about six kilometres when his ute crossed to the wrong side of the road into the path of an oncoming vehicle.
The other car had to take “evasive action” to avoid a collision but Taylor’s ute left the road and hit gum trees. Police believed he was not wearing a seatbelt and as a result he was flung from the ute and pinned beneath it.
Police facts said three police cars, one ambulance, two fire trucks, one rescue vehicle and an ambulance helicopter attended.
“The results of the accused’s actions could have been catastrophic in the extreme and almost ended in tragedy,” police wrote.
Mr Ringbauer said his client had been grief-stricken since the death of his 19-year-old daughter in a car accident “a number of years ago.”
Taylor was a shearer who had been out of work since the accident because he did not have a licence and had hoped to be re-employed as a rouseabout despite his injuries.
He suffered broken ribs, ligament injuries and holes in his lungs.
Taylor had four previous convictions for drink-driving, the last in 1990, but had completed the traffic offenders course.
The magistrate, Terry Lucas, gave him a good behaviour bond with a criminal conviction and suspended his licence for six months, back-dated to the crash.
He will be eligible to drive today.