A Craigavon woman who was found to be over twice the limit after going through a McDonald’s drive-thru has been handed a 12 month ban.
The 58-year-old’s solicitor told court: “The blood sample showed Tramadol in her system. She instructs she does not take such medication and thinks that her drink may have been spiked.”
Hilda Doherty, of Enniskeen, had pleas of guilty entered on her behalf to driving with excess alcohol, failing to stop for police, failing to provide a sample of breath, failing to wear a seat belt and failing to answer bail at Craigavon Magistrates’, sitting at Lisburn, on Friday.
Prosecution outlined that at 8.40pm on August 31, of last year, police received a report of a suspected drink driver in a Toyota Land Cruiser in the vicinity of McDonald’s, Edward Street in Lurgan.
Officers arrived but were unable to locate the vehicle. A witness came to police to point out that the driver had gone through the drive-thru of the fast food outlet.
Due to traffic, the officers waited at the exit to the drive-thru and observed the Land Cruiser leaving.
Sirens and lights were activated to signal for the vehicle to stop. It failed to do so but eventually came to a stop.
Police approached the vehicle and observed the defendant in the driver seat eating a burger. It was noted that at this time she was not wearing a seatbelt.
Doherty was told to remain inside the car. It was noted by the officers that her speech was slurred.
She later exited the vehicle, lay on the ground and pretended to have a seizure.
First responders arrived on the scene to monitor her breathing but commented there was nothing wrong with the defendant other than her intoxication.
Police requested that Doherty engage in a preliminary breath test but she refused. A sample of blood which was later obtained gave a reading of 174mg of alcohol in 100ml of blood – over twice the limit.
The defendant later failed to present herself to answer her bail and had to be located by police.
Defence solicitor John McAtamney stated: “This is a lady with a number of medical issues. I had been trying to get her GP’s notes.
“She accepts having taken some alcohol but believed she was fit to drive. The blood sample showed Tramadol in her system. She instructs she does not take such medication and thinks that her drink may have been spiked.”
He added: “The loss of her licence will have a great impact on her. She instructs that she has been driving for 20 years with no points, although there is one relevant conviction from 1990.”
District Judge Michael Ranaghan stated: “The reading would see to confirm that there is something drastically wrong.
“This is a dreadful reading, instead of getting fast food she should have trying to get some help.”
Doherty was handed a conditional discharge for 12 months, she was disqualified from driving for 12 months and was ordered to pay a fine of £400, along with the offender’s levy of £15, within 20 weeks.