After sharing the field with Richie McCaw just hours earlier, a national touch rugby representative consumed an ”enormous” amount of alcohol and drove wildly around Queenstown.
Mackenzie Allan Haugh, 22, had represented the All Black legend’s invitation team at the tournament but found out shortly after the game on October 28, he had not been re-selected for national honours.
He reacted by embarking on a two-hour drinking binge before driving from the function in his father’s car, the Dunedin District Court heard yesterday.
Haugh drove up Fernhill Rd, veering into oncoming traffic and narrowly avoiding a head-on collision.
After making a U-turn, he continued to weave along the road, side-swiping a parked car and nearly hitting an oncoming bus.
The crash was only avoided when the bus driver stopped, Judge Michael Turner said.
”A witness later described his driving was like watching race cars on a warm-up lap going from side to side,” a police summary said.
Haugh made it to central Queenstown where he drew the attention of hundreds of bystanders by continuously sounding his horn and shouting at passers-by.
When he slowed down turning into Camp St, it gave concerned members of the public and other motorists the chance to remove the keys from the ignition.
Haugh was ”detained” while police travelled to the scene.
The defendant was described as unco-operative when officers handcuffed him and was ”blase” while procedures were carried out.
His breath test reading was 1097mcg – more than four times the legal limit.
The level and the dangerous nature of the driving could easily have resulted in him being imprisoned, the judge said.
”On the face of it, it is a spectacularly stupid incident involving a young man being a dick behind the wheel of a car,” counsel Sally McMillan said.
But she argued Haugh’s case was more complex, describing him as ”seriously unwell”.
McMillan said on the surface, her client appeared a successful contributing member of the community.
He had represented the country in ”a number of codes”, was employed and mentored young people.
Last year, his hat-trick of tries had helped Southern to the Dunedin club rugby title, too.
But McMillan said Haugh struggled immensely with anxiety and other psychological issues, which were exacerbated by his sporting successes.
”When he ends up on TV or in newspaper for sport … he sets himself on a downward trajectory.”
The defendant was in court in 2016 over a similar drink-driving incident and his family now realised there was a pattern in which he used alcohol and other substances as a crutch.
The court heard Haugh had now engaged with counsellors.
Judge Turner denied an application for permanent name suppression, noting the man’s name had appeared online shortly after the event.
Publication of the wider context of the case would help the defendant redress the balance, he said.
Haugh was sentenced to 12 months’ intensive supervision, 250 hours’ community work and was disqualified from driving indefinitely.
He will only be allowed to drive when the director of Land Transport lifted the ban.