Lachie Hunter agreed to give up his vice-captaincy after the incident. (AAP Image: Julian Smith)
Western Bulldog Lachie Hunter fined for breaching coronavirus restrictions over drink-driving incident
Western Bulldogs player Lachie Hunter has been fined, suspended for four games and has given up the club vice-captaincy following an alleged drink-driving crash in Melbourne last week.
- Hunter has also been ordered to undertake mandatory alcohol counselling
- Teammate Billy Gowers was fined $5,000 for breaching the club’s code of conduct
- Club CEO Ameet Bains said Hunter had accepted full responsibility for the crash and wanted to apologise
Hunter is expected to face criminal charges after recording a blood alcohol result of 0.123 after four parked cars were hit last Thursday.
Highway patrol officers were called to Wright Street in Middle Park at about 8:45pm.
The driver of the Toyota SUV was not there but police found a wine bottle and a Western Bulldogs training bag with the number seven on it inside the car.
After an investigation by the club, Bulldogs chief executive office Ameet Bains said Hunter had volunteered to step down as vice-captain and had relinquished his position in the leadership group.
He was fined $5,000 by the club for drink driving, which also imposed suspended fines totalling $15,000 for other breaches.
Hunter will also serve a four-match ban when the AFL season resumes.
An SUV allegedly being driven by Western Bulldogs player Lachie Hunter hit parked cars in Middle Park last week. (ABC News)
He will be required to undergo mandatory alcohol counselling and to do some form of community service.
Mr Bains said he was “extremely disappointed” with Hunter’s conduct.
“Including his choice to drink alcohol, his choice to drink and drive, his choice to ignore social-distancing laws and a series of other choices he made in the aftermath of the crash,” Mr Bains said.
“Lachie’s behaviour put himself and others at risk and that is not acceptable.
“While there are clearly many pressures that people are facing in current circumstances, including Lachie, that is no excuse.”
In a video posted to the club’s website, Hunter apologised for his actions.
“I am here to take full responsibility for what I did and the damages that I caused,” he said.
“I let down a lot of people here, my fiance and my family first, the leadership group and the club, my teammates Billy and Bailey, for dragging them into a situation they should never have been in and the wider community who are going through a really hard time with the COVID-19, clearly I should have been at home.”
Bailey Smith, Billy Gowers also fined
Coincidentally, the crash happened outside the home of teammate Bailey Smith’s girlfriend and two of the family’s cars were damaged.
When Smith came out to see what had happened, Hunter asked to be driven to the apartment of another teammate, Billy Gowers.
Both Gowers and Smith were fined for breaching social-distancing rules imposed by the Chief Health Officer.
Billy Gowers was handed a suspended $5,000 fine for conduct which “fell short” of what the club expected of the players, Mr Bains said.
Hunter was not at the press conference when the penalties were announced because of social-distancing rules.
Crows suspend forward Tyson Stengle for drink driving
Meanwhile, Adelaide Crows forward Tyson Stengle was also suspended for four games for a drink-driving offence.
Stengle was reported for a “drink-driving offence” after he was stopped by police in Adelaide’s south-western suburbs on April 9, an Adelaide Crows club statement said.
He was found to have a blood alcohol reading of 0.123 and the club also said Stengle was driving an unregistered car.
Stengle said he was determined to win back the respect of his club and teammates. (AAP: Dave Hunt)
Stengle was fined $2,500 by the club and the money will be donated to charity.
He will also have to undertake a road safety education program.
“Tyson continues to show remorse for his actions and these sanctions are an expression of our disappointment,” Crows head of football Adam Kelly said.
Stengle apologised for his actions.
“I am determined to win back the trust of my teammates and coaches, and that starts with focussing on my training and working hard,” he said.