Somehow a Whangarei woman allegedly too drunk to walk, sign her name or complete a breath test was able to get behind the wheel and drive. Police officers had to carry the 52-year-old from a patrol car into the Whangarei Police Station after she was stopped on Friday night as part of a national crackdown on drunk drivers.
Across Northland 25 drink-drivers were arrested.
Police said a member of the public spotted the woman driving erratically in Western Hills Dr. and followed her to Wilson Ave about 8.45pm. He had taken her car keys and called police.
Police said once inside the breath-testing room at the station the woman struggled to stay upright on a chair and was unable to blow into the testing machine.
She had also passed out several times and struggled to talk.
The woman's husband was called to take her home.
She will be summonsed to appear in the Whangarei District Court to face charges of refusing to give a blood sample and driving while incapable. A doctor was called to carry out a tests before declaring her incapable. The charge carries a penalty of three months jail, a fine of up to $4500 and six months disqualification.
Northland district road policing manager Inspector Clifford Paxton said police were astounded the woman had been able to drive and he praised the driver who took the keys from her - but he also urged caution. "We want the community to make it socially unacceptable and take action over drunk drivers. I commend the actions of the sober driver for making Northland a safer place but we don't want people putting themselves at risk on the roadside. If they suspect a drunk driver I urge them to call police straight away."
On Friday night in the Far North five alleged drink-drivers were charged and two were stopped in Kaikohe.
In Whangarei nine alleged drunk drivers were nabbed, while officers patrolling the highways around the city caught another seven.
In Dargaville a woman returned a reading of 688mcg of alcohol per litre of breath. She had been driving with two children in the car.
Dargaville's Sergeant Bevan Jones said 400 vehicles were stopped at two locations in Dargaville.
The woman was one of two drivers nabbed in the blitz who had their licences suspended for 28 days. The other, a Dargaville man, returned a reading of 469mcg.
Both are to appear in the Dargaville District Court in December.
Mr Jones warned that similar operations would continue on a regular basis.
The results have been labelled "disastrous" by RoadSafety official Gillian Archer.
"It's horrifying that this is happening in the run-up to the silly season.
"What do we have to do to get the message through to these people?" she asked.