A woman who crashed her car at a Peterborough junction while nearly five times over the drink drive limit has avoided being sent to jail.
Sadie Johnson was behind the wheel of her Renault Clio when she crashed into the back of a Vauxhall Corsa on Storey’s Bar Road on April 2 this year.
When she was arrested she gave a reading of 166 microgrammes in 100 millilitres of breath - the legal limit is 35 microgrammes, and the reading is one of the highest seen in recent times in Cambridgeshire.
Today (Wednesday) Johnson (35) of Tower Close, Whittlesey, appeared at Peterborough Crown Court where she was given a suspended jail sentence for the ‘excessive’ reading. She was also banned for four years by Deputy District Judge Julie Cooper. She pleaded guilty at a previous hearing.
Philip Botterill, prosecuting, told the court the crash happened at about 5.50pm. He said: “The defendant had been driving her vehicle when she was involved in a road traffic accident.
“When police attended the incident, they found the driver of the other car, a Corsa, stopped at the junction.
“The driver said he had seen the defendant driving behind him, and not slowing down. The defendants’ vehicle collided with the car at the junction, causing minor damage.
“The driver said he spoke to the defendant and formed the view she was intoxicated - he could smell alcohol and the speech was said to be slurred.
“At the roadside, she cave a high reading, and she was taken to Thorpe Wood Police Station where she provided a reading of 166 microgrammes.”
Mr Botterill said she was interviewed by officers, where she accepted she had been responsible for the crash, and was over the limit.
Mr Botterill said: “She said she had not been drinking all day - she said she had finished work at 5.30pm and then been to the shop and bought vodka and consumed it.
“She was challenged about this, and told it would not be possible to absorb alcohol to that level. She then admitted she had consumed alcohol all day. She said she had an alcohol problem and had not told anyone about it before. She said it had started about a year before due to problems in the marriage.”
The court heard the reading was above the highest level in the sentencing guidelines - with the guidelines having a starting point of a 12 week sentence for any case involving a reading ‘between 120 and 150 or above.’
Johnson had previously been told the court was keeping all sentencing options open.
Judge Cooper was told Johnson had no previous convictions recorded against her, and had taken steps to tackle her alcohol problem, seeking help from her GP.
Oliver Barrett, defending, said: “No-one can minimise this. It is a very high reading, and there was a collision. Thankfully it was damage only.
“She thought she was managing her condition, but clearly she wasn’t. This made her realise it was not under control and start seeking help.”
Judge Cooper, sentencing, said the reading was ‘excessively high’ - but said she could suspend the sentence.
She said: “I am taking into account this did not come about following a heavy night having fun. You have an addiction to alcohol - you are essentially ann alcoholic, and need treatment, which you have started to address.”
Johnson was given a 24 week jail sentence, suspended for 24 months, ordered to carry out 100 hours of unpaid work, and take part in an alcohol treatment requirement for 12 months and 30 days of rehabilitation activity requirement. She was also ordered to pay £85 costs and a £115 victim surcharge.
Judge Cooper disqualified Johnson from driving for four years - with the ban starting from April 23, when Johnson had pleaded guilty (an interim disqualification had been in place between the two hearings.) Johnson was told the ban would end on April 23 2023, unless she completes a drink drive rehabilitation course, paid for by her, by March 22 2022. If she does, the ban will end on May 22 2022. While Johnson does not have to take the course, Judge Cooper said: “I am offering you the course because I feel it is essential for you to understand the impact of driving under the influence of alcohol. It is imperative you do the course.”