Wo­man more than four times drink-drive limit

The Peterborough Evening Telegraph - - Front Page - By STEPHEN BRIGGS stephen.briggs@pe­ter­bor­oughto­day.co.uk

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.”

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