A car crashed into the NightOwl convenience store in Airlie Beach in March. Photo: Contributed
A car crashed into the NightOwl convenience store in Airlie Beach in March. Photo: Contributed

Teen learns fate after ploughing into convenience store

A BOWEN teen was almost five times the legal limit when she ploughed her car into the front of the NightOwl convenience store just minutes after staff left for the night.

Abbie Tyler Paul will need to pay the store thousands of dollars in restitution and is disqualified from driving for more than a year after making a "poor decision" on a night out with friends.

Paul pleaded guilty at Proserpine Magistrates Court to dangerous driving while affected by an intoxicating substance and driving under the influence of liquor.

Police prosecutor Senior Constable Sarah Rowe told the court Paul parked her car in the Woolworths carpark on Waterson Way in Airlie Beach, then went to Magnums and Boom Nightclub for some drinks.

 

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Just after 1am on March 8 this year, Paul walked back to her car with a friend and drove out of the carpark onto Waterson Way.

Sen-Constable Rowe said Paul, who is on her P plates, lost control of the car and mounted the kerb, then crashed straight through the front of the NightOwl convenience store.

The NightOwl had closed 10 minutes before the crash and the shop attendant had only just left.

The court heard police saw Paul get out of the car and she repeatedly apologised to officers.

The 19 year old was breath tested and returned a blood alcohol reading of 0.236.

Because she was on her P-plates she is required to have zero alcohol in her system when driving.

Sen-Constable Rowe said Paul not only risked her own life, but also the life of her passenger and other members of the community during the busiest time of the night in the Safe Night Precinct.

Lawyer Ashley Reynolds told the court the teen was genuinely remorseful and had apologised to the owner of the NightOwl.

She said her client only drove for a short time and no-one was injured in the incident.

Ms Reynolds said Paul had no previous convictions and references spoke highly of her, including a former employer who labelled her hardworking and reliable.

"This is not a case where she has a problem with alcohol, she was on a night out with a friend and made a poor decision," Ms Reynolds said.

Ms Reynolds asked Acting Magistrate Ron Muirhead to consider not recording a conviction as Paul held aspirations to travel and work overseas.

Damage to the inside of the NightOwl convenience store after a car smashed through the front doors in March. Photo: Contributed
Damage to the inside of the NightOwl convenience store after a car smashed through the front doors in March. Photo: Contributed

Mr Muirhead said Paul's case was serious as she was on a provisional licence and was "well and truly" over the zero alcohol requirement.

He said crashing into the business made it even more serious.

"Quite often, almost always, when that happens, the court imposes a prison term for obvious reasons," Mr Muirhead said.

"That behaviour is not on, it's irresponsible."

Given Paul's plea of guilty, her age and the fact it appeared to be a one-off situation, Mr Muirhead decided not to impose a prison term.

Paul was sentenced to 18 months' probation, was fined $2000 and disqualified from driving for a year and 10 months.

She must also pay $4000 to the NightOwl for damage and loss of trade.

A conviction was not recorded for the dangerous operation of a vehicle charge, but was recorded for the driving under the influence of liquor charge.