Twice-limit driver ‘was help­ing an ill friend’

Belfast Telegraph - - NEWS - BY NEVIN FAR­RELL

A DRIVER de­tected at more than twice the al­co­hol limit af­ter a col­li­sion near Bal­ly­cas­tle claimed she took to the road to help a friend who felt un­well and could not get a taxi home.

Donna Mitchell (35), of Knock­a­hol­let Road, Dun­loy, ap­peared at Col­eraine Mag­is­trates Court yes­ter­day and ad­mit­ted a charge of driv­ing with ex­cess al­co­hol on Oc­to­ber 15 this year at Hill­side Road, Bal­ly­cas­tle.

A pros­e­cu­tor said po­lice at­tended a two ve­hi­cle road traf­fic col­li­sion at around 11.45pm where the de­fen­dant had been driv­ing a Skoda Oc­tavia. Later, at Col­eraine Po­lice Sta­tion, she gave a read­ing of 91 mi­cro­grammes of al­co­hol in 100ml of breath. The le­gal limit is 35 mi­cro­grammes.

De­fence so­lic­i­tor Denise Gil­lan said her client had been driv­ing for 18 years with a clear record, and had gone to a ru­ral pub with her part­ner that day, in­tend­ing not to stay, but “fell into com­pany”. Mitchell drove as she had been “try­ing to do some­body a favour, who wasn’t well”.

District Judge Liam McNally took into ac­count her guilty plea as he im­posed a driv­ing ban of 15 months and a £250 fine.

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