Drug-driver 3 times over THC limit

A recreational cannabis smoker who rolled her car near Alexandra had more than three times the legal tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) limit in her blood.

Nadia Kathleen Pene, 26, was driving towards the Central Otago town from Clyde about 7pm on December 13 when she drifted into loose gravel on the left-hand side of the highway.

She over corrected as her car began to slide, causing it to veer across the opposite lane and into an earth bank before rolling.

She was transported to Dunstan Hospital for a checkup where a sample of her blood was found to contain 10ng/ml of THC.

The high-risk legal limit for driving is 3ng/ml.

Pene told police her steering wheel had been "feeling wobbly", and she took her eyes of the road for a few seconds before looking back to find her car going into the gravel.

She had smoked cannabis two days before the crash.

At Pene’s sentencing in the Alexandra District Court on Thursday for drug-impaired driving and careless driving, counsel Jacinta Grant said the vehicle was in poor condition and was leaking oil, causing the defendant to become distracted while driving.

She had lost her job after being charged by police.

Despite losing confidence in driving as a result of the crash, she had upgraded her licence from learner to restricted, and completed a safe driving programme.

She had no previous convictions, Ms Grant said.

Community magistrate Sarah Steele told Pene she had already suffered some consequences from her offending, including losing her job.

"I think you’ve learned your lesson."

The crash showed the dangers of driving under the influence of THC.

"It stays in your bloodstream and affects your ability to drive properly."

Pene was convicted and sentenced to 40 hours’ community work, and disqualified from driving for six months.