Drink-driver was grieving mother’s murder, court hears
A MAN who flipped his car in a drunken single-vehicle crash near Coffs Harbour was mourning the anniversary of his mother's murder, a court has heard.
Wade William Smith, aged 37, pleaded guilty to drink-driving and negligent driving on the night of August 28 - the same night his mother was killed when he was just eight-years-old.
"One can appreciate that it was an extremely difficult day for Mr Smith," the magistrate said.
"It's a great shame it has led to him being before the court on a very serious example of a drink driving offence."
The Bellingen father-of-three had been drinking when he got into an argument with his partner, before making what he said was a "stupid decision" to drive the car.
At about 11.40pm that night, police were called to a crash at Waterfall Way where they found Mr Smith's sedan on its roof after it had crashed into an embankment.
He and his partner luckily escaped injury.
Mr Smith was arrested and returned a breath test reading of 0.113, double the legal limit.
On Monday, he appeared in Coffs Harbour Local Court before Magistrate Ian Rodgers for sentencing with his partner by his side.
The court heard how Mr Smith was highly regarded in the community, having worked as a firefighter with National Parks and Wildlife Service for the last 11 years.
"He is a person looked up to in the Bellingen community, and it's clear he's a role model for younger Aboriginal staff," the defence told the magistrate.
In handing down a sentence, Magistrate Rodgers acknowledged Mr Smith was of good character, and that he was "embarrassed and remorseful" over the incident.
For the charge of mid-range drink driving, Mr Smith was convicted and fined $1,000 and had his licence disqualified for six months.
For the charge of negligent driving, he was fined $500.