Drunk driver injures four in tree crash

A driver sentenced for a car crash that hurt four passengers was "angry and disappointed" in his actions, his solicitor said in court.

After the crash: Anthony Merritt exceeded the 50 kilometre per hour speed limit over the low level bridge on Riley Terrace, Yass.

After the crash: Anthony Merritt exceeded the 50 kilometre per hour speed limit over the low level bridge on Riley Terrace, Yass.

Anthony Merritt, 33, of Yass, pleaded guilty to mid-range drink driving and negligent driving in Yass Local Court on April 12.

Police facts tendered in court said Merritt had consumed 10 bottles of beer on the day of the crash, January 23.

Driving with four passengers including a young child about 6.35pm that day, Merritt exceeded the 50 kilometre per hour speed limit over the low level bridge on Riley Terrace, Yass.

Losing control on the bend, Merritt crossed to the wrong side of the road for about 50 metres and crashed into a large tree with force.

The front seat passenger received a cut to the back of the head, which later required gluing; the rear left side passenger fractured the tip of their left ankle; the young child was bruised by the car seat restraint and sore for days; and the rear right side passenger said they thought they had been knocked out for a few seconds.

Merritt had a fractured rib and internal bleeding in the chest and abdominal region.

Police officers at the scene said Merritt had said "I'm over" as soon as they arrived, in reference to the alcohol he'd consumed. A roadside breath test returned a positive reading and Merritt was arrested.

At Yass Police Station, Merritt gave a reading of 0.149 grams of alcohol, almost three times over the limit.

In court, Merritt's solicitor said his client had issues with alcohol and was "angry and disappointed in himself," referring to the incident.

Magistrate Geraldine Beattie said the offence was very serious, considering there were passengers including a child in the car.

Magistrate Beattie disqualified Merritt from driving for four months; issued an interlock order, a fine of $750, 75 hours of community service and a nine-month community corrections order.