A MOTHER crashed her car while driving her two young children after drinking half a bottle of vodka - leaving her with one of the highest breath test readings a magistrate had ever seen.
Kelly Stenson, 30, was nearly five times the limit when she was found by cops after a member of the public reported her Toyota Aygo - which had been abandoned after smashing into some metal gates at around 4pm on January 18.
Police found the mother and her two daughters, aged six and three, near the car.
Wakefield Magistrates Court heard that the children were ‘upset and distressed’.
Andy Wills, prosecuting, told how a breath test of Stenson, of Crigglestone, Wakefield, revealed 171 microgrammes in 100ml of breath.
At the police station a further test revealed she had 151 microgrammes in 100ml of breath - while the legal limit is 35 microgrammes.
Chairman of the bench Stuart Swallow said: “The reading that was gathered was one of the highest I have ever come across, and that’s something.”
Stenson pleaded guilty to drink driving at an earlier hearing in February, and this week was handed a three-year driving ban.
Roger Clapham, defending, told magistrates that Stenson had been having marital problems which had since been resolved. She also had financial problems, had recently lost her grandmother and had consumed half a bottle of vodka on the day of the incident.
He added: “It happened once and once only, and because of what happened since, and the time spent in police cells, it will never happen again.”
The court heard how Stenson was voluntarily working with health provider Turning Point and a group called Lifeline to tackle her alcohol use and depression.
In addition to the driving ban, Stenson was given a 12-month community order with a 30-day activity programme requirement.
She was also ordered to pay £85 in costs and a £60 victim surcharge.
Road safety campaigners said it was fortunate that no-one had been injured when Stenson had crashed.
Ellen Booth, senior campaigns officer with Huddersfield-based Brake, the road safety charity, said: “Driving after drinking even small amounts of alcohol dramatically increases your risk of crashing, so driving at five times above the limit is incredibly dangerous. It is extremely lucky that no one was hurt in this case, which could very easily have resulted in devastating tragedy.”
The court case coincided with a fresh Government road safety campaign against drink driving which highlights the cost of a drink-driving offence.
It has been calculated that the personal financial cost of drink-driving for the first time can be between £20,000 and £50,000.
This reflects the fines, legal costs, rise in insurance premiums and possible job losses faced by offenders.
To emphasise the point, Road Safety Minister Stephen Hammond showed off a “£50,000 pint” - a pint of beer in a protective glass case surrounded by security guards.
The costly pint, the one that could take a driver over the legal alcohol limit, forms part of the Government’s latest £1.68 million THINK! campaign, which includes TV and radio adverts warning of the dangers of drink-driving.
Mr Hammond said: “It might only look like a humble pint of beer, but it could end up costing much more than a few quid. In fact, it comes with an eye-watering hidden cost if it pushes you over the limit.
“Most people know not to drink and drive but a small number still do, which is why we are highlighting the consequences of a drink-drive conviction.
“If you are caught driving over the limit, you will face a heavy court fine and lose your licence. You could even go to prison.”