A Waikato bus driver caught driving a bus-load of students to school while over the legal breath alcohol limit says she only had two or three glasses of wine more than 12 hours earlier.
Mary Teresa Parker, 68, was stopped by police near Cambridge last month when she returned a breath alcohol level of 468mcg. The new legal limit is 250mcg.
Parker made a brief appearance in the Hamilton District Court this morning when she pleaded guilty to one charge of driving a transport service vehicle with an excess breath alcohol level of 468mcg on Kaipaki Rd on August 17.
Police prosecutor Bill Cronin said Parker was seen by a highway patrol officer driving close to the centre line of Kaipaki Rd as she drove to a nearby school. After she pulled into the school carpark she was breathalysed and returned the reading.
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Through her lawyer Wayne Dollimore, Parker said she was horrified to find she was over the limit as she had only had two or three wines the night before, as well as meals.
"As you will have seen from the summary of facts, when stopped at 8.25am she informed the officer that she had consumed alcohol, namely two to three glasses of wine between 5.30pm and 6.30pm the preceding night and then had a main meal, some sleep and that morning she rose and had a big breakfast and she's absolutely shocked that she's over the reading. We have looked into issues, medication, but can't pin point an issue."
Parker had since lost her job as a bus driver at Kaipaki School where she had worked for the past 10 years.
It was also her first driving conviction and her first time in the court system, he said.
Community Magistrate Jansen accepted Parker's position and said a lot of people had been caught out by the new lowered drink driving limit.
"Well, Mrs Parker you must be horrified to find yourself in this position at your age ...people have been caught out the next morning having alcohol still in their system and it's something that you will need to be aware of and just to be that much more careful especially in situations when you're responsible for driving children in a school bus."
Parker was convicted and fined $450 by and disqualified from driving for six months on her personal licence and one year and one day on her class one passenger licence.
Parker declined to comment when approached by the Herald outside court.