England

Teacher who drove wrong way on A1 spared jail sentence

A drunk teacher who terrified drivers when she drove the wrong way along the A1 in Nottinghamshire has been spared an immediate jail sentence.

Catherine Dean, of Rossendale, Lancs, drove north on the southbound lane for four miles before police stopped her.

At Nottingham Crown Court, Dean, 42, admitted dangerous driving and driving with excess alcohol in January.

She was handed a 12-month jail term, suspended for two years, and banned from driving for 18 months.

Dean, of Gregory Fold, sparked a police emergency after reaching speeds of up to 70mph in the fast lane on the snowy and icy road in the early hours of 8 January.

'Muttering gibberish'

Police pulled over the silver Mazda saloon near Newark.

One officer said it was the worst case of driving he had ever seen, the court heard.

Dean was found to be almost three times the drink drive limit.

Robbie Singh, prosecuting, said: "There was a half empty bottle of wine in the driver's door compartment and unopened bottles on the passenger seat.

"She [Dean] was unsteady on her feet and muttering gibberish."

Dean said she was looking for a hospital after being woken by a bad asthma attack.

She claimed to have had "a couple of glasses of wine" during a night out in Lincoln before going to bed in a hotel on the A46 near Newark.

Judge Dudley Bennett said: "This was a horrendous piece of dangerous driving topped up with drink.

"If there hadn't been all that snow and people weren't staying off the roads you may well have killed someone, most probably yourself."

Dean was also ordered to observe a 1900 to 0600 curfew for six months and told to carry out 80 hours unpaid work.

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites