Eight pots, and banned from the road

A DRUNK elderly man was almost three times over the limit when he pulled onto the wrong side of the Western Freeway at Warrenheip and sped up to 110km/h, a court has heard.

Kenneth George Lee, 70, drove for more than five kilometres in the wrong direction on the dual carriageway, caused a minor collision and only pulled over when police drove up alongside him.

Yesterday Lee appeared in Ballarat Magistrates Court, where he was supported by former members of the Army regiment he served in for 18 years.

Magistrate Andrew Capell struggled to comprehend Lee’s driving.

“I must admit I’m finding it hard to understand how you could make the mistake you did on that night,” Mr Capell said.

“It seems to me there’s more to it than alcohol.”

The court heard Lee turned onto the Western Freeway from Old Melbourne Road and began travelling west in the eastbound lanes.

Police prosecutor Senior Constable Michelle Kilburn said he drove for about five kilometres before two cars came the other way.

One of the drivers was forced to take evasive action to avoid a head-on crash, but couldn’t escape a minor collision with Lee, who kept driving.

Police then caught up to the elderly driver and estimated he was travelling at 110km/h before he finally pulled over.

He smelt of alcohol and was stumbling around.

Police breath-tested Lee and he recorded a blood alcohol content of 0.140.

He told police he had eight pots at two different pubs over a five-hour period leading up to the incident.

Defence lawyer Camille Woodward said the offending was out of character.

“It’s extraordinary your honour, and I think it needs to be said from the outset that there’s no one more ashamed than Mr Lee,” she said.

Mr Capell fined Lee $1500 with conviction and disqualified him from driving for 14 months.

Lee pleaded guilty to drink-driving, dangerous driving and failing to stop after an accident.

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