Drunk driver drove through cordon
Drunk driver drove through cordon as firefighters battle suspicious blaze
Monday, 23 September 2013 - 12:12pm
An unlicensed driver had a lot of explaining to do after being found driving while over twice the legal limit, through a cordon, as fire-fighters battled a large suspicious fire in Te Aroha on Saturday morning.
Sergeant Vic Sneddon of the Morrinsville Police said emergency services were already busy dealing with the fire at the clubrooms of the Te Aroha Athletics Club about 4.20am when a car was seen driving through the cordon.
"Rewi St was blocked by fire appliances, cones and fire hoses at the time but the car was seen by Police driving west through the scene, without any headlights on.
"Once clear of the scene the driver continued on to a nearby supermarket car-park where the 23-year-old unlicensed female driver tried to reverse away, still with no headlights on."
Processed for excess breath alcohol at the scene, Mr Sneddon said the woman returned a breath alcohol reading of 974mgms, the legal limit for an adult, licensed driver is 400mgms.
"She told our staff she was trying to get to work on time when she was stopped."
"Issued a traffic offence notice for excess breath alcohol and infringement notices for driving with no licence and no headlights, the woman will appear in the Morrinsville District Court on an as yet to be determined date."
Given 15 people lost their lives in 12 crashes last year in which alcohol was a factor, Mr Sneddon said the discovery of this woman behind the wheel, in such a state where she didn't realise she was driving through an emergency scene, was very concerning.
"Even more so when you consider the lives of the emergency service workers she put at risk, if she had crashed further down the road it would have been these same workers who would strive to ensure she survived.
"Saturday morning's incident is a clear example of the throttle and the bottle- don't mix, you either drink and not drive or drive and not drink- the choice is yours and if you choose otherwise you face death, injury or enforcement action."