An alcoholic woman grabbed the wheel of a taxi in which she was a passenger - causing the driver to crash.
Jemma Cady, 35, of Southend Parade, Hebburn, has no memory of what she did, South Tyneside Magistrates were told.
The court heard the crash happened in the early hours of the morning while Cady, a mother of four, was being driven along Jarrow Road.
Paul Anderson, prosecuting, said: “The taxi driver picked the defendant up in his Volkswagen Touran taxi at about 2.40am in the centre of Jarrow.
“As the vehicle was being driven along Jarrow Road, she grabbed the steering wheel of the taxi, causing it to collide with the central reservation.
“It went on to the opposing carriageway.
“Fortunately, traffic at that time of the morning was light.
“The driver was able to bring his taxi under control without hitting another vehicle.”
The court heard Cady told police she had no memory of getting into the taxi.
Mr Anderson added: “She said she was always getting into trouble because of drink, and was sorry for causing the accident.
“Damage to the taxi was assessed at £270 for the front bumper.”
Cady admitted interfering with a vehicle in circumstances which a reasonable person would know to be dangerous on July 21.
She has two previous convictions for being drunk and disorderly.
Michelle Stoneley, defending, said: “Mrs Cady is married with four children, aged 18, 16, eight and three.
“She has been abusing alcohol for some time, and that abuse escalated last year.
“Her husband was diagnosed with terminal cancer.
“Instead of seeking professional help, she turned to the bottle.”
Mrs Stoneley said the crash had been a ‘wake-up’ call to Cady.
He said: “The couple have borrowed £6,000 to enable her to seek residential help for alcoholism,
“That treatment has gone well and she is going back every two weeks for after care.”
She added: “She is extremely sorry for what happened, and wants to apologise to the driver.”
Cady was given a conditional discharge for 12 months, ordered to pay £100 compensation to the driver, and £105 costs.
The money will be deducted fortnightly from Cady’s benefits.