Drunk driver jailed over Warrawong crash

A serial drink-driver who was five times the legal limit when his car ploughed into a Warrawong service station has lodged an appeal after being sentenced to nine months’ jail.
Nanjing Night Net

Wollongong Local Court Magistrate Michael Stoddart yesterday slammed Allen George Waretini’s “appalling” behaviour on the afternoon of August 18 last year, saying he was amazed no-one was seriously injured or killed in the incident.

The court heard an inebriated Waretini, 55, parked out the front of the BP service station at Warrawong about 4.50pm and went inside to buy cigarettes.

When he got back in his car he reversed the vehicle about three metres before stopping and revving the engine.

He then accelerated forward, ploughing through the front doors of the service station and smashing into a freezer and shelving inside the shop.

The court heard the damage bill topped $45,000 and security guards had to be hired around the clock for a week until the building could be repaired.

Waretini was arrested at the scene and taken to Shellharbour Hospital, where a blood test revealed he had an alcohol reading of .278 – more than five times the legal limit.

He yesterday pleaded guilty to drink-driving – the sixth such charge on his lengthy traffic record.

His lawyer, John Gallagher, conceded the court had few options other than to give Waretini a jail sentence, but asked Magistrate Stoddart to take into account the fact that his client had mental health issues and had made attempts to deal with his alcohol problems.

However, Magistrate Stoddart rejected pleas for leniency, saying that based on Waretini’s alcohol reading alone it was a wonder the Port Kembla man was “still alive”, let alone adding a crash to the situation.

“You’re lucky you didn’t run into someone in the service station such as a customer or the attendant,” he said.

“You have an atrocious record for drink-driving and this is a very disturbing set of facts. I’m satisfied the only appropriate sentence for you is [full-time] jail.”

Magistrate Stoddart jailed Waretini for nine months with a non-parole period of four months.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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