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Mayo pensioner, found asleep in car with dog while engine was running, was six times over legal limit

72-year-old Michael Costello has been banned from driving for three years. He claimed to have pulled in after becoming “overcome with sadness”.

kk Kilkelly, Co Mayo Source: Google Maps

A 72-YEAR-OLD pensioner has been disqualified from driving for three years after he was found to be six times over the legal alcohol limit while asleep in the driver’s seat of his car with his dog.

Michael Costello of Kilkelly, Co Mayo, appeared before Castlebar District Court today when Garda Kenneth Barrett described finding the pensioner asleep at the wheel at the time of the offence last July.

He said that he had found Costello’s vehicle parked at the side of the road, blocking the entrance to a driveway at approximately 4.30pm on 31 July 2016.

When he approached the car, Garda Barrett found Costello asleep in the driver’s seat with a small white dog, while the engine was running and the car radio was turned on.

He managed to wake Costello, who he described as “drowsy, confused and incoherent” when he became conscious, leading the garda to suspect that he had consumed an intoxicant.

The accused was brought to Claremorris Garda Station, where a sample of blood taken by a designated GP returned a reading of 304mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood – more than six times the legal limit.

The court heard that Costello was a pensioner who had been driving for 54 years and had no previous convictions. Through his solicitor, he apologised to the court and said that he was extremely remorseful for his actions.

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His solicitor said that Costello had driven to Kilkelly village and had consumed a bottle of wine. On his way home, he had been “overcome with sadness” and pulled in at the roadside before falling asleep.

Judge Mary Devins noted that his blood-alcohol level had been “very, very high” and questioned the solicitor’s assertion that Costello had consumed only one bottle of wine.

He clarified that he had not asked his client about the quantity of alcohol that he had consumed, and accepted that it may have been more than a single bottle of wine.

Judge Devins convicted Costello of drink driving, fining him €400 and disqualifying him from driving for the minimum mandatory period of three years.

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Darragh McDonagh

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