A middle-aged man has been made to pay a $650 fine or spend two months in prison after a pre-birthday celebration almost ended his life and that of a friend back in 2016.
Kareem El Shabazz pleaded guilty to reckless driving and driving under the influence of alcohol when he appeared before Magistrate Giselle Jackman-Lumy on Monday, August 20.
El Shabazz was fined $300 for reckless driving and another $350 for the drunk driving charge.
The court heard that about 5am on August 19, 2016, police and the local ambulance service responded to an accident in the Harrigan Estate area of Tortola.
Moments before the accident, El Shabazz was driving a pickup truck towards Meyers Estate, following a ‘night out’ in the capital with a friend.
Still reeling from excessive alcohol consumption, El Shabazz caused the vehicle to careen off the road and plunge 150 feet down a hill.
The court heard El Shabazz and the friend were taken to Peebles Hospital for medical attention. The extent of their injuries was not revealed.
His blood-alcohol level was above the legally-required limit, the court heard.
Counting his blessings
Addressing the court, El Shabazz – a first-time offender – said: “I am still here today and I thank the Lord.”
“It was an early birthday celebration for me … I am not a person who drinks Patron (an alcoholic drink). Find it in your heart to be lenient on me,” he beseeched the court.
Before Magistrate Jackman-Lumy gave her ruling, she reminded him of the seriousness of the offence and left him with some words of advice.
“Celebrate responsibly; this should be an eye-opener,” she said.
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