Driver asleep at lights after taking drug cocktail

A DRIVER found asleep in his car at a green traffic light on the Dawson Highway in the middle of the day blamed his traffic dilemma on prescribed medication for anxiety and a dodgy fuse wire.

Nick Mamasioulas denied being asleep behind the wheel, instead claiming he was just fixing a fuse wire beneath his dash at the time.

Other drivers, worried at seeing the stationary car at the Park Road intersection, stopped and then called police, Gladstone Magistrates Court heard.

Mamasioulas, 27, a painter pleaded guilty to driving under the influence at 11.45am on April 30.

Prosecutor Sgt Merrilyn Hoskins said police were called to the scene after receiving calls about a sleeping driver.

A witness told police the car was stationary at a green light, and when he opened a car door saw the driver asleep.

The man then removed the car key from the ignition.

Sgt Hoskins said Mamasioulas had appeared to be under the influence of alcohol or drugs, and told an officer he had taken two Alprazolam tablets, saying he should not have been driving as it "drowses him out".

"He said he was not asleep but trying to change the fuse for the wiper blades," Sgt Hoskins said.

Mamasioulas was taken to Gladstone Hospital and also told police he had taken Valium "and maybe a bit of weed".

However, an analysis revealed no illegal substances in his system.

Sgt Hoskins said the fact the medication was prescribed did not make it permissible to take and then get behind the wheel of a vehicle and drive.

Facts before the court stated the driver had been prescribed a series of drugs including Valium, Zyprexa, Fentanyl, Nordiazepam, Alprazolam and Olanzapine.

Defence lawyer Jun Pepito said his client was taking the medications for chronic pain.

Magistrate Jeffrey Clarke fined Mamasioulas $750 and disqualified him from driving for six months. He recorded the conviction.

"When you get your licence back be very careful what medication you use," Mr Clarke warned him.

"You should reflect on the potential harm you could have caused sitting in traffic like that."

Topics:  crime drug driving editors picks gladstone magistrates court

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