A carton of red wine and late night fishing plans quickly escalated for one Bundy man, leading to a car fire, crash and police search.
A carton of red wine and late night fishing plans quickly escalated for one Bundy man, leading to a car fire, crash and police search.

Red wine and fishing turns into hit, run and fire

A MAN who admits he had a drinking problem when he crashed his car and fled the scene, said he was no longer struggling with alcohol after giving it up for four weeks.

Appearing in Bundaberg Magistrates Court yesterday in relation to five charges, Nathan Ernest Fletcher labelled his actions on the night of June 21, as "pretty stupid."

What started out as a fun night out at a friend's house quickly escalated when Fletcher decided he wanted to go fishing after polishing off a carton of red wine.

The defendant was driving along George St about 7.15pm, when he passed police driving the opposite way.

But police quickly pulled to a halt after they heard a loud noise when Fletcher lost control of his Nissan Pulsar, veering off onto the other side of the road, hitting the gutter and crashing into a tree.

As officers approached the crash site, Fletcher immediately exited the vehicle and ran across large vacant fields towards a nearby skatepark.

Upon further inspection, police found the significantly damaged vehicle had a lot of the driver's blood inside, as well as one of his shoes.

In addition, a large 20 litre drum of kerosene was also found on the front passenger seat of the car, causing the vehicle to catch fire.

Police attempted to contain the blaze, until crews from QFES arrived at the scene and were able to extinguish the fire.

Concerned for the defendant's safety, a police dog was then tasked to locate Fletcher, leading police to a nearby skatepark, where a taxi driver and company were able to confirm the collection and drop-off details for the defendant.

Police arrived at Fletcher's home where he resides with his partner and stepchildren and described the defendant as unsteady on his feet and smelling of alcohol.

It is alleged he then failed to follow police directions, by declining to sit on a chair outside or provide a specimen of his breath upon request.

Police officers then handcuffed him and attempted to place him into their car to transport him to hospital and he tried to obstruct their efforts by leaning back with all his body weight.

Fletcher's blood alcohol test showed up in the high range, reading 0.226%.

Despite his guilty plea and the admission he could not remember the events over the course of the night, Fletcher alleged he attempted to provide a specimen of his breath on six occasions but was unable to blow long enough for the test to work.

The defendant sustained a head wound and told the court he would likely lose his job as a removalist if he lost his driver's licence.

When Magistrate Andrew Moloney asked what had happened in the lead up to cause the incident, the defendant replied "I was just going fishing."

Fletcher then told the Magistrate he had an issue with alcohol, but had overcome it and has not had a drink in the last four weeks.

The court heard Fletcher had a criminal history with the last offence dated back to 2013.

A previous drink driving charge also saw the defendant return a reading of 0.149%.

He was charged with driving under the influence of alcohol while operating a motor vehicle, failing to have proper control of a vehicle, comply with duties of driver involved in crash, provide a breath test specimen when directed and obstruct police.

Fletcher was fined a total of $2200 and disqualified from driving or holding a licence for 15 months.