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Drink-driver caught with open bottle of wine in passenger seat while more than five times over the limit

Two female drink drivers, both who have been found behind the wheel with high alcohol readings, appeared in the New Plymouth District Court on Wednesday.  (File Photo)

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Two female drink drivers, both who have been found behind the wheel with high alcohol readings, appeared in the New Plymouth District Court on Wednesday. (File Photo)

An “extremely intoxicated” Taranaki motorist found behind the wheel with an open wine bottle next to her was caught drink-driving again three days later after ignoring a ban.

On both occasions in July this year, it was Marlene Anne McDonald’s alcohol-affected driving that attracted alarm.

About 1.30pm on July 24, a member of the public phoned police to report how the 47-year-old’s car had been swerving “all over the road” along Broadway in Stratford, the police summary of facts said.

When McDonald’s car stopped at the roundabout near Regan St, the concerned citizen went over and took the keys out of the ignition.

Police described the New Plymouth woman as “extremely intoxicated and had an open bottle on wine on the passenger seat”.

Marlene McDonald was caught driving with high levels of alcohol in her system two time during a three-day period in July this year.  (File Photo)

Martin de Ruyter / Stuff

Marlene McDonald was caught driving with high levels of alcohol in her system two time during a three-day period in July this year. (File Photo)

A breath test was carried out, and McDonald blew 1398 micrograms of alcohol per liter of breath. The legal limit is 250 mcgs, putting her more than five times over.

After being charged, she was banned from driving for 28 days.

However, three days later, McDonald was nabbed drink-driving again.

Police stopped her after she turned into Cameron St on the wrong side of the road.

A subsequent breath test gave a result of 832 mcgs, and she told officers she was “guilty as sin”.

McDonald, who previously pleaded guilty to two charges of drink-driving and one of driving while suspended, appeared in the New Plymouth District Court on Wednesday for sentencing.

Community magistrate Lesley Jensen said it was “really disappointing” to see McDonald in court for repeat offending.

As part of McDonald’s nine-month term of supervision, she will be referred to the One for the Road program, which provides education around the risks of drink-driving, Jensen said.

A series of defendants caught drink-driving appeared in the New Plymouth District Court on Wednesday.  (File Photo)

ANDY JACKSON / Stuff

A series of defendants caught drink-driving appeared in the New Plymouth District Court on Wednesday. (File Photo)

McDonald was ordered to complete 80 hours of community work and observe a 28-day driving ban before she can apply for an alcohol interlock device for her car.

Jensen had words for encouragement for McDonald, after handing down her penalty.

“You’ve got a long way to go, but you can turn this around.”

Driver’s second conviction

Meanwhile, Kay Louise Blair appeared in court on Wednesday, where she faced three charges related to a stint of drink-driving that left her in hospital.

It was the second time the New Plymouth woman had been convicted of drink-driving. In August 2021, she was charged after she blew more than six times the legal alcohol limit for driving – 1535 mcgs.

Due to this, she was required to get an alcohol interlock device installed, but she failed to follow through.

The summary of facts said on April 30, at 1pm, Blair failed to stop at the intersection of Ngamotu and South Rds.

Another motorist had to swerve to avoid Blair’s vehicle, and when she sped up, the defendant’s car ended up hitting a tree on the opposite side of the road.

A drink-driver was taken to Taranaki Base Hospital after she crashed her car into a tree as a result of her careless driving.  (File Photo)

Simon O’Connor / Stuff

A drink-driver was taken to Taranaki Base Hospital after she crashed her car into a tree as a result of her careless driving. (File Photo)

Blair was taken to hospital for treatment. She was later found to have had an alcohol level of 160 milligrams per liter of blood. The legal limit is 50mg.

She previously pleaded guilty to driving with an excess blood alcohol level, driving while disqualified and careless driving.

Lawyer Patrick Mooney said Blair admitted she made a “bad choice” to drink and drive, and had been driving her partner’s car, as she did not own her own vehicle.

Blair was sentenced to nine months’ supervision, two months of community detention with a nightly curfew imposed, and an indefinite driving ban.

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