High price for free drinks

By Cam Lucadou-Wells

A former drink-driver’s seemingly long period of abstinence ended in near disaster.

John Langhans, 64, of Dandenong, had not touched a drink for seven years due to health issues, his lawyer told Dandenong Magistrates’ Court on 2 July.

But then he downed four complimentary schooners at a central Dandenong pub on 20 April.

They were offered to him as thanks for delivering an Easter egg ensemble.

About 8.40pm he drove home, down Robinson Street, turning into Clow Street where he narrowly missed crashing into an unmarked police vehicle.

The officers, who were conducting a registration-check operation, intercepted Langhans nearby.

His blood-alcohol reading was .109 – more than double the legal limit. His driving licence was cancelled on the spot.

Langhans had two serious drink-driving priors “well over 10 years ago”, including a stint in custody, his lawyer told the court.

“There were several years he’s been able to abstain. He’s not drinking at all.“

The memory of his late wife who was killed in a car crash had helped him keep off the booze, the court heard.

Magistrate Sharon McRae noted there were “numerous” drink-driving priors then a “big gap”.

She said his erratic driving while drunk was an aggravating factor for sentencing.

“When he’s alcohol affected, he’s not a very good driver at all.”

Langhans was disqualified from driving for 12 months – two more than the mandatory minimum.

The pensioner was also convicted and fined $600.

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