Matthew Kevin Gillen drove into the river.
Matthew Kevin Gillen drove into the river.

Rescued drink-driver who drove into flood walks free

A MARYBOROUGH man who had to be rescued from the top of his car after he drove drunk into floodwaters has walked out of court without a conviction.

Matthew Kevin Gillen, 23, yesterday pleaded guilty in the Maryborough Magistrates Court to drink-driving, disqualified driving and disobeying No Entry signs.

He was sentenced to a total of $1150 in fines and 11 months disqualification - but no convictions were recorded.

The court heard that about midnight on February 28, after drinking a number of beers, Gillen left his girlfriend's Granville home and, ignoring No Entry signs, drove over the Granville Bridge.

He made a right turn onto flooded Mary St and proceeded to drive through the floodwaters until his car started filling up with water.

He climbed onto his roof but it wasn't until five to six hours later, at 6.50am, a resident noticed him waving for help and called 000.

Police prosecutor Kath Stagoll told the court that after being rescued by the Swift Water Rescue Team, Gillen was breath-tested by police and returned a reading of 0.128%.

Officers also discovered his licence had been suspended due to demerit points since January 9.

Defence lawyer Tammy Dodd said Gillen was remorseful for driving on the night of February 28, which was "the most stupid decision he has ever made".

"His car is extensively damaged ... it has been very expensive to repair," she said.

She said the 23-year-old had recently been laid off and had a 14-month-old son to provide for.

"You should not have been driving," Magistrate John Hodgins said.

"You were a risk to yourself and others."



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