Woman was a danger on A1

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After drinking wine at a surprise birthday celebration for her a 60-year-old woman drove along the A1 with a flat tyre.

And when she got out of the vehicle she had to be held by the arm by police to prevent her from falling.

Maureen McKenna, Carrickbroad Road, Killeavy, admitted driving while unfit through drink or drugs on May 25 this year. She was fined £175, ordered to pay a £15 offender’s levy and banned from driving for 16 months.

For failing to provide a specimen of blood she was fined £175 and given a concurrent 16 month ban.

The court heard that at 4.08pm on the southbound carriageway of the A1 near Loughbrickland vehicles were braking and slowing down as if there was an obstruction in the road. Police saw a vehicle pull onto the hard shoulder. It had a flat tyre and the damage showed it had been driven on while flat.

McKenna, who was driving, seemed confused and disorientated and had difficulty understanding police. When she stepped out of the vehicle police immediately had to take her by the arm to prevent her from falling onto the carriageway. She said she had been drinking wine.

She was taken to Banbridge custody suite and she was unable to walk straight.

The breathalysing machine could not be used and McKenna was asked to give a blood sample but refused.

A solicitor representing the defendant said she had arranged to have meet with friends for lunch but it turned out a 60th birthday celebration had been arranged.

The solicitor said there wasn’t any intention on her part to obstruct police. She wouldn’t have been in any state to give blood. She had been driving for 42 years with a clear record.

District Judge, Mr Paul Copeland, said it was clear from the account given the defendant was heavily intoxicated and represented a significant endangerment to other road users.

Imposing the fines and ban he said she would have to be re-tested before her licence could be restored.

He also certified her suitable for the drink driving course which if she completes it would reduce her disqualification by four months.