Motorists take drunk teacher's keys

By Mike Dinsdale of The Northern Advocate -
Teacher Joanne Ash was five times over the limit when she was stopped by concerned motorists who took the keys from her. Photo / Thinkstock
Teacher Joanne Ash was five times over the limit when she was stopped by concerned motorists who took the keys from her. Photo / Thinkstock

A drunk Whangarei teacher, whose erratic driving forced concerned motorists to take the keys from her car when she stopped at lights, was more than five times over the legal limit.

Joanne Peony Ash, 40, appeared in Whangarei District Court for sentencing on a charge of driving with excess blood-alcohol for a third or subsequent time.

A police summary of facts said Ash was driving on Western Hills Dr about 6.10pm on February 1 when her driving - including weaving from lane to lane and appearing confused and lost - attracted the attention of other motorists.

They were so concerned that when Ash stopped at traffic lights a motorists took the keys from her car's ignition and called police.

Ash was unable to complete a passive roadside breath test.

At the Whangarei police station she was unable to complete an evidential breath test so a blood sample had to be taken.

She refused to tell police what type of alcohol, or how much, she had been drinking. The blood test recorded a level of 424 milligrams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood, more than five times the legal limit of 80mg.

Ash was sentenced to three months' community detention, 150 hours' community work, 15 months' supervision and indefinitely disqualified for her third drink-driving conviction.

Northland has some of the highest rates of drink-driving in the country, particularly repeat offenders.

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