Drink driver smashed into traffic lights and reversed into shop front in Dungannon causing £15K damage

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A man who reversed his car through the front window of Stewart’s Music Shop causing £15,000 of damage has been banned from driving for a year and fined £1,050.

East Tyrone Magistrate’s Court heard how police were tasked to attend a report of a hit and run in Market Square at 6.45am on February 28.

They reported speaking to a witness who described seeing a male driver in a Mercedes car crash through a set of traffic lights before reversing into the front of Stewart’s Music Shop.

Police later attended the residence of the last known owner, observing a Mercedes car in the driveway with heavy damage.

The defendant, Tomas Norgela, 31, from Castle Gardens in Dungannon, subsequently gave a sample of breath that was over twice the legal limit and admitted to having driven the car. He said that he had drunk a “large amount of whiskey or brandy” on the night in question and remembered pulling away from Stewart’s.

A search of the car was also conducted by police which discovered a small amount of cannabis which Mr Norgela claimed he had bought for £50 three weeks before for personal use.

The court heard that the damage to Stewart’s was in the region of £15,000 while the damage to the traffic lights was £1,000.

A solicitor for the defendant told the court that this was “a very bad incident with a real risk to people over and above the damage to property”.

In addition to the fine and driving disqualification, District Judge Bernadette Kelly ordered that the car used during the incident would be forfeited and a court levy was imposed.