Martin Higgins was almost a staggering FOUR times the drink driving limit when he drifted into the other lane and crashed into car directly opposite Ballymena Primary School seven weeks ago.
At the time of the incident hundreds of kids were leaving the school gates for the end of the day – something a judge took a dim view of, commenting it was an “aggravating factor at the very least”.
The 44-year-old, who also admitted failing to report a crash, has already received an interim driving ban but will have to wait until December to learn his full fate.
When confronted by the Sunday World outside his large home, which is just a few hundred yards away from the primary school, he didn’t want to comment.
“I don’t want to comment about the court case,” he told us, sheepishly.
He confirmed he had not been picking up children at the time of the crash and added, “It was just a bad day”.
But parents at the school had more to say with one furious mum, who tipped off the Sunday World about the incident saying, “he’s a very selfish idiot”.
“What was he thinking getting behind the wheel of a car when he had drunk so much alcohol?” said the irate parent.
“It’s unacceptable to do that at anytime but to do it and drive past a school where hundreds of young kids are getting out it jaw-dropping.
“We knew there had been a crash close to the school but it was only when we read about the court details online that we found out just how over the limit he was.
“He’s lucky he didn’t kill a child. In my opinion he’s just a very selfish idiot.”
She says the courts should send a strong signal to him when he is sentenced next month.
“He really should be sent to jail for this to send out a message and set an example, but you can bet he won’t be,” she said.
“Christmas is coming up and we all know that’s when people start taking risks and drink driving rises.”
Higgins, of Ballymoney Road in Ballymena, admitted driving with excess alcohol at Ballymoney Road and failing to report a collision at 3pm on Wednesday September 28 this year.
As reported in Court News NI Higgins had an alcohol in breath reading of 130 - the legal limit is 35.
A prosecutor told Ballymena Magistrates' Court a two-vehicle collision happened "directly outside a primary school during pick-up time".
Police saw a woman's vehicle was damaged and Higgins' vehicle was also damaged but he was not in it.
The woman driver said she had been stationary in traffic when Higgins' van drifted into her lane causing a collision.
She got out and approached him and could smell drink from him.
She was able to give a description of the driver to police who spoke to him 200 yards away from the scene of the crash.
District Judge Nigel Broderick handed down an interim driving ban and said he wanted a pre-sentence report as "anybody who is driving with that amount of alcohol near a school at pick-up time, it is an aggravating feature to say the least".
The case was adjourned to December 15.