Woman more than four times drink-drive limit
A WOMAN discovered slumped in her car nearly five times over the drink drive limit has avoided spending Christmas behind bars.
Tracey Shepard (46), of Burn Street, March, was found in her Volkswagen Golf, slumped over her steering wheel in September after drinking more than half a bottle of vodka.
She was arrested after a passer-by spotted her and, concerned for her health, called for police and an ambulance.
When she was given a Breathalyser test at the police station, she gave a reading of 161mg of alcohol in 100ml of breath – nearly five times the drink-drive limit of 35mg of alcohol in 100ml of breath.
The reading is so high that it is well above the upper limit set by the court sentencing guidelines of 150mg in 100ml of breath.
Shepard appeared at Peterborough Magistrates’ Court yesterday where she pleaded guilty to being in charge of a motor vehicle while above the alcohol limit.
Along with being banned from driving for one year, she was told by District Judge Ken Sheraton that she had drank so much she had put her own life in danger from alcohol poisoning – and only avoided a jail term because she did not drive her car while drunk.
Addressing the court, Giles Beaumont, prosecuting, said: “At 7pm on September 23 a member of the public came across a car blocking Flag Grass Hill Road, in March, which is a single-track road.
“The witness saw a lady slumped over the steering wheel and was so concerned about the health of the woman, she called for an ambulance.
“They opened the car and turned the ignition off, and found a bottle of vodka which was 40 per cent full.
“When she was interviewed by police she said she had been under pressure and had driven to the shop to buy the vodka.
“She was a woman of good character until this offence.”
The court heard how Shepard had a clean driving licence and had pleaded guilty at the first opportunity.
The court was also told she had been “horrified” by the incident and is suffering from a poor state of mental health at the moment.
District Judge Sheraton, sentenced Shepard to an 18-month community order, with supervision and an order to attend the drink-impaired drivers’ programme.
She was also banned from driving for a year and ordered to pay £85 costs.
Judge Sheraton said: “You know this was a very high reading.
“I am not a medic, but I wouldn’t be surprised if you were not far off alcohol poisoning and putting your life in real danger.
“The reading was so high that the sentencing guidelines do not go up that high – they only go up to 150mg in 100ml and then the category is ‘and above’.
“If you had been caught driving at this level, you would have been looking at a jail term of up to 12 weeks.
“The fact that you didn’t drive keeps you out of prison.”