A GERMAN fruit picker blew more than twice the legal blood alcohol limit following a crash near Chiltern on Sunday morning that left his passenger with a broken vertebrae.
Wodonga police Sen-Constable David Young said the 25-year-old man was driving on the Hume Freeway at 5.30am with a 36-year-old Nepalese man to the Howlong orchard where they were working after a night out in Wangaratta.
Sen-Constable Young said the 1996 Ford station wagon crossed onto the median strip, over-corrected and slid backwards, hitting a tree boot-first.
The car was flung into a two-metre-deep culvert.
It was an hour later before a truck driver saw the car and called emergency services.
“He was only found by a passing truck driver because the truck being higher than a car could actually see down in the culvert otherwise they could have been sitting there for two or three hours,” Sen-Constable Young said.
He said the Nepalese man, who was trapped in the car, suffered a fractured vertebrae and was flown to the Austin Hospital in a critical condition.
The driver was taken to the Wodonga Police Station for a breath test.
Sen-Constable Young said he returned a reading of .13.
“It’s extremely stupid of him and dangerous, especially after drinking heavily at a pub in Wangaratta to attempt to drive home,” Sen-Constable Young said.
The driver was given a $599 penalty notice for drink-driving and his licence was suspended for 13 months.