Drunk and on the wrong side of the road
DRUNK driver Tamara Leigh Pritchard was travelling on the wrong side of the road and caused oncoming drivers to take evasive action to avoid a crash.
One shaken driver told police it was like the driver had been on "a suicide mission", Bundaberg Magistrates Court heard.
Pritchard, 41, pleaded guilty to dangerous operation of a motor vehicle on Friday, January 27 in Branyan St while adversely affected by an intoxicating substance; driving unlicensed (suspended) on Sunday, January 29, driving an unregistered and uninsured car on Burnett St on January 29, and using a car registration plate that was cancelled.
Prosecutor Sergeant Dean Burgess said the incident happened at 1.30pm on January 27 when an off duty police officer saw a Mitsubishi Lancer purposely being driven northbound on the incorrect side of the road.
Sgt Burgess said the drivers of five cars had to pull over to avoid collisions and the officer had concerns the driver was suicidal, one witness saying he thought she was on a suicide mission.
Sgt Burgess said Pritchard drove through an intersection contrary to a red light and traffic had to stop.
Police found her sitting in the car stopped on Jacobsen St, Pritchard saying she had not had a drink for an hour.
When tested she had an alcohol reading of 0.188 and told police she had several glasses of wine.
Her license was then suspended.
Sgt Burgess said police two days later saw Pritchard driving a Toyota Camry and after being stopped said she knew her licence had been suspended.
Defence lawyer Thomas Bray said while legal precedents supported a jail term his submission was for it to be suspended and she complete a probation order.
He said Pritchard has health issues including sclerosis of the liver and is on a methadone program as she was a former heroin user.
Mr Thomas said on the day of the first driving offence Pritchard had been served bank papers regarding the house mortgage that her partner had not been paying.
Magistrate Belinda Merrin told Pritchard that if not for the evasive actions of other drivers, someone could have been killed or injured.
Pritchard was sentenced to 12 months jail, suspended for 2 1/2 years, her licence disqualified for three years.