Drunk student led police in car chase

A drunk student drove through a police breath-test checkpoint and took them on a high-speed chase through Balclutha, a court has heard.

Sarah Lee Wilson (21) was a student at Telford agricultural institute at the time and was driving in Clyde St late on September 8.

When she was signalled to stop by officers, she instead accelerated heavily through the checkpoint, narrowly missing them.

Police caught up with Wilson near a local refuse centre and she pulled over and turned off her headlights. However, she sped away with her lights still off, bursting through a gate into the dump to evade police.

Wilson continued for up to 40m before giving herself up.

She told arresting officers she had consumed two jugs of beer at the local pub but blew a breath-alcohol reading of more than three times the legal limit (869mcg).

"You drunk too much then you were obviously spooked by the police checkpoint; then you made some bad decisions," Judge John Macdonald summarised at the Dunedin District Court yesterday.

Wilson told Probation before sentencing that she "panicked" when she saw police and realised she would be pinged for drink-driving.

"I'm prepared to accept that but that doesn't excuse what you did," the judge said.

Counsel Cate Andersen said her client had recently graduated and had a job starting soon as a farmhand in Lawrence.

It was her first time before the court and she had not drunk since this incident, the court heard.

Wilson was convicted of drink-driving, failing to stop for police and reckless driving.

She was fined $500, court costs $130 and disqualified from driving for 28 days with an alcohol-interlock licence to follow.

Wilson was the second Telford student this week to be sentenced over an alcohol-fuelled driving episode.

Eruera Matene (19) received community work and supervision after he got drunk, stole a car and drove it haphazardly around Balclutha while throwing bottles at a member of the public who pursued him.


 

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