Deputy editor off the road
ANYONE who knows me well knows I am fond of a drink and enjoy a "big" night out every so often. Well, it's come back to bite me in a big way.
On Friday night I attended an informal dinner at the Sandy Creek Hotel with a number of Daily News staff and a few of their significant others. Over the course of three and a bit hours I had a meal and consumed a schooner of heavy beer and what could safely be called a large quantity of white wine.
It was an enjoyable, relaxing evening and, along with several of my editorial colleagues, I was letting off a bit of steam at the end of another week. As you do.
A sober female colleague who was ready to leave about 10.30pm kindly offered to drive me home, and to drop several others off at the Daily News so they could get vehicles and lifts home.
My own work-provided car was parked on the side of Albion St a short distance from the driveway which runs down the side of the building. For reasons which I can only describe as well-meaning but equally as stupid, I decided it would be sensible to park my vehicle at the back of the building on security grounds. Big mistake.
A pair of passing police officers observed me doing this and had observed the others get out of the car we were in and quite reasonably assumed we'd all had a night out. They breathalysed me behind the building and I returned a reading four times over the legal limit, confirmed shortly afterwards as .181 at the police station.
I was a little surprised at how high it was - aren't we all - but the machines don't lie. I also want to state on record that the officers who intercepted me were professional, courteous and competent in their duties and I fully respect their requirement to do their job.
So now I find myself unable to drive until I appear in court on January 17 to face my first - and what will be my last - drink-driving charge.
I will need to come up with a plan to get to and from work. I also have some long weeks ahead of me in which to contemplate and await my sentence and I'm prepared to cop whatever the court feels is reasonable.
The bottom line is, I did a really, really dumb thing and I broke the law. I didn't drive far, but someone could have been on the footpath at the time. Why on earth I didn't ask my colleague to shift my car for me I will never know. She's kicking herself for that too, but she doesn't have to as it was all my fault.
In any case, take my serious error of judgment as yet another reminder in these pages to never, ever be tempted to get behind the wheel no matter how much you've had.
The risks - and the consequences - are severe.