Drink driver said she had beer as it was a warm evening

ColeraineCourt9 - Edited

A drink driver whose vehicle veered across a Coleraine road in sight of police said she had earlier had beer as it has been a warm evening.

Malgorzata Puhowska (51), of Somerset Drive in Coleraine, has pleaded guilty to driving with excess alcohol in her breath in the town centre on September 6 this year.

A prosecutor told Coleraine Magistrates Court on October 1 that at 8.20pm on September 6 police were driving when a vehicle veered over a white line and onto the lane they were in.

Officers followed and noticed the vehicle was unable to stay between lane markings.

They signalled for the driver to stop and then used lights and sirens but the vehicle still continued on.

Eventually at Long Commons they were able to pull alongside the vehicle and get it to go in to a filling station and at that stage Puhowska’s car mounted a kerb.

Police spoke to the defendant by using a Polish interpreter through a phone system and it was established Puhowska had an alcohol/breath reading of 86, with the legal limit being 35.

Defence solicitor Fergus McIntosh said his client had been very busy on the day in question and the only thing she had eaten that day was a sandwich.

Later, because it was a warm evening, she drank “three strong beers”.

Mr McIntosh said the defendant was “really embarrassed” to be in court.

District Judge Peter King told the defendant that people living in Northern Ireland can only drive on a non-NI licence for twelve months.

He said he took into account her guilty plea and her clear record.

Noting she was “industrious and hard-working” the judge accepted the 16 months ban and £250 fine would impact on her but she had been more than twice the legal limit.

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