Drunk Durham driver attempted to leave crash scene in taxi after South Shields collision

The woman gave a reading of nearly three times over the legal limit.
The case was dealt with at South Tyneside Magistrates' Court. The case was dealt with at South Tyneside Magistrates' Court.
The case was dealt with at South Tyneside Magistrates' Court.

A drunken motorist found herself going in reverse after she crashed on a South Tyneside dual carriageway and left the scene in a taxi.

Barbara Dougherty, 38, ran her Vauxhall Mokka car off the 40mph John Reid Road in the early hours of Sunday, December 17 – then hailed a lift.

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But the cabbie grew suspicious as he drove away that she was responsible for the smash, borough magistrates heard.

He turned around and returned Dougherty, of Byron Street, Wheatley Hill, Co Durham, to the accident spot – with police waiting.

Dougherty admitted to having driven and a roadside breath test proved she was approaching three times the legal limit for alcohol.

She is starting a 23-month roads’ ban and must pay fines and court costs of £946 after pleading guilty to a charge of drink driving.

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Prosecutor Lesley Burgess said: “The circumstances are that police were asked to attend the scene of a road traffic collision.

“It appears officers had been passing and saw that her vehicle had been involved in a road traffic collision. There was nobody else at the scene.

“An officer touched the bonnet, which was warm. While there, a taxi pulled up with the defendant inside.

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“The taxi driver believed that she had been involved and she was returned to the vehicle.

“She accepted that she had been driving. When asked if she had consumed alcohol, she said ‘yes’.

“The offence is aggravated by the road traffic collision. There wasn’t another vehicle involved, she hit roadside furniture.

“She has appeared to get into a taxi, and it was the taxi driver who made the decision to go back to the vehicle.”

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Dougherty, who has no previous convictions, gave a reading of 91mcg of alcohol in breath. The legal limit is 35mcg.

Alastair Naismith, defending, told magistrates they had to decide if Dougherty’s guilty plea and crime-free past were sufficient to avoid a community order level punishment.

Magistrates decided a community order could be avoided and instead fined Dougherty £615, with a £246 victim surcharge and £85 court costs.