Cardiff Magistrate's Court. Credit: Sarah Dalton.

Teenage drink-driver overturned car after row with his girlfriend, court told

A TEENAGE drink-driver was found “covered in blood” in his overturned car after attempting to drive home following an argument with his girlfriend, a court has heard.

Jake Harris, 19, “thought he would be OK” to drive, Cardiff magistrates were told.

But he turned out to be more than twice the legal limit – and his actions have left him with permanent scarring and with plates in his arm.

Appearing before Cardiff Magistrates Court, Harris, of Parc Castell Y Mynach, Creigiau, made a tearful guilty plea to a single charge of driving while over the legal limit.

Prosecutor Sophie Pennifold told the court how police were called to Harris’ overturned vehicle just outside of Creigiau in the early hours of the morning. They arrived to find the car upside down with the teen still seat belted inside, she added.

“When police helped him out of his car he was unsteady on his feet, smelt of liquor and his speech was slurred,” said Ms Pennifold.  

The 19-year-old student had been visiting his girlfriend that evening and had planned to stay the night at her house. Shortly after midnight, when an argument broke out between them, Harris made the decision to leave and drive to his parents’ house in Creigiau despite being over the legal drinking limit, the court heard.

The defendant, who has no previous convictions, “thought he would be okay” and has no memory of how his car crashed, she went on.

Harris has been left with scarring, plates in his arm and he continues to have physical therapy for his injuries. 

After being pulled from the vehicle and taken to hospital, Harris was found to have 171 milligrams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood, which Jon Lewis, defending, described as “marginally over twice the legal limit”. 

“I can tell he is finding this a difficult experience,” said Mr Lewis, who paused during his representation to look over at his client who sat in floods of tears. Harris was supported by his family who came to offer him tissues during breaks in the court proceedings. 

“An element of punishment has already been served,” Mr Lewis added. 

Nihad Ramadan, chair of the magistrates bench, credited Harris’ “clean character” but told the court that the guilty teenager must be fined £253 for his driving over the legal limit. Harris was also banned from driving for 19 months. The ban will be reduced to 15 months if he completes a drink driving awareness course.

“I’ve £150 in my savings, can I pay that off now?” asked a tearful Mr Harris.