A MAN convicted of drink driving for the fourth time has been banned from the roads for five years after his car crashed into another vehicle which then collided with a bus carrying school children.

James Monahan, aged 66, broke his years-long abstinence from alcohol "in a moment of crisis" during the morning of the crash following the breakdown of his marriage.

Welshpool Magistrates' Court heard that Monahan, an editor, didn't realise vehicles had been queuing at temporary traffic lights when the crash happened on the Llanidloes Bypass at around 4pm on July 17.

Monahan, of Halghton Lane, Bangor-on-Dee, Wrexham, pleaded guilty to drink driving after a breathalyser test revealed that he blew 62 microgrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath when the legal limit is 35mcgs.


Shane Maddocks, prosecutor, told the court on Tuesday, August 15, that police rushed to the scene of a three-vehicle crash to find a bus full of children and two other cars including Monahan's Volvo.

"Luckily there were no injuries with the parties involved," Mr Maddocks said.

The court heard that Monahan told officers that he had been drinking but thought it was safe to drive to Aberystwyth.

Brendan Reedy, mitigating, said: "When police attended nobody was hurt. Looking at the police report officers didn’t suspect my client of drink driving; nothing in there suggests his eyes were glazed or smelt of alcohol. He was breathalysed, failed the test and he was arrested. I'm glad to say the reading was not that high; too high but not that high."

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Mr Reedy added: "He remained abstinent until that morning. His marriage had dissolved and that morning he and his wife parted on good terms. Two weeks before this happened his brother had died in very tragic circumstances. Sat on his own in an empty house there was beer left from the night before; he had three beers and glass of wine.

"He hadn’t had a drink for years. It was a moment of crisis being left on his own. For some reason, he did that. Only the night before he had been drinking soft drinks.

"He didn’t drive immediately. The accident happened at around 4pm. He was driving to Aberystwyth where he has a caravan. The bump happened on the bypass, but he didn’t realise the traffic was stationary.

"He is extremely sorry for what he’s done. He’s extremely remorseful. If he could turn back the clock, he definitely would."

Probation officer Jo Long told the court that Monahan's pattern of offending since being released from prison was linked to alcohol having been caught drink driving in 2009, 2011 and 2018.

Mr Long told the court that Monahan is deemed as low risk of reoffending but medium risk of harm to the public.

Magistrates ordered Monahan to serve a 12-month community order which will include 10 rehabilitation requirement days and 120 unpaid work hours, as well as pay a £114 victim surcharge and £85 court costs.