SENIOR police say the five passengers of a car that crashed into a tree at Tenterfield on Tuesday night are lucky to be alive.
The young driver has since been charged with high-range drink-driving and is expected to appear in court next month.
Police allege the 18-year-old red P-plater (provisional one licence holder) fled from the scene after the accident occurred about 9.50pm.
A white Holden Commodore had been travelling on Leechs Gully Rd before crashing into the tree.
The five passengers on board were assessed at Tenterfield hospital, with one suspected of having a broken jaw and finger and another suffering whiplash.
It is understood the 18-year-old driver fled from the accident shortly before his arrest by New England Local Area Command police.
He was taken to Tenterfield Police Station where he underwent a breath analysis. He allegedly returned a reading of 0.151 – the legal limit for provisional drivers is zero.
The teen was issued a field court attendance notice for the offence of a high-range prescribed concentration of alcohol.
He is listed to appear at Tenterfield Local Court on November 28.
While inquiries continue and witnesses are sought, senior police have issued warnings against such behaviour.
Traffic and Highway Patrol Command operations commander Superintendent Stuart Smith said the occupants of the car were lucky to be alive.
“Research suggests that drink-driving increases the risk of having a crash, which is certainly quite obvious in this case,” Superintendent Smith said.
“Given the circumstances, those involved are quite lucky the outcome was not fatal.”