Woman accused of driving drunk through emergency cordon

File photo / NZ Herald
File photo / NZ Herald

A woman has been charged after allegedly driving drunk through an emergency cordon while firefighters were fighting a suspicious blaze on Saturday.

Morrinsville Sergeant Vic Sneddon said emergency services were already busy dealing with the large suspicious fire at the clubrooms of the Te Aroha Athletics Club on Saturday when a car was seen driving through the cordon at 4.20am.

"Rewi St was blocked by fire appliances, cones and fire hoses at the time but the car was seen by police driving west through the scene, without any headlights on.

"Once clear of the scene, the driver continued on to a nearby supermarket car-park where the 23-year-old unlicensed female driver tried to reverse away, still with no headlights on."

Mr Sneddon said the woman allegedly returned a breath alcohol reading of 974 micrograms of alcohol per litre of breath.

The legal limit is 400mcg.

The woman allegedly told police she was trying to get to work on time when she was stopped, Mr Sneddon said.

It was very concerning the woman was allegedly in such a state that she didn't realise she was driving through an emergency scene, he said.

Last year, 15 people lost their lives in 12 crashes where alcohol was a factor.

"Even more so when you consider the lives of the emergency service workers she put at risk, if she had crashed further down the road it would have been these same workers who would strive to ensure she survived.

"Saturday morning's incident is a clear example of the throttle and the bottle don't mix, you either drink and not drive or drive and not drink - the choice is yours and if you choose otherwise you face death, injury or enforcement action," Mr Sneddon said.

The woman received an offence notice for excess breath alcohol and tickets for driving with no licence and no headlights and is due to appear in the Morrinsville District Court at a later date.

- APNZ

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