Woman drunk drove the wrong way on one of Scotland’s busiest motorways
A DRUNK woman who drove the wrong way down one of Scotland’s busiest motorways was told by a sheriff that it was “only down to divine intervention” that she had not killed many people.
Repeat drink-driver Carol Tuddenham was nearly three times the alcohol limit when she drove past several no entry signs onto an exit ramp of the M876 near Falkirk.
She collided with another car after careering for more than three miles east along the westbound carriageway while hunched over the wheel.
Drivers had to swerve to avoid her, and she only finally came to a halt when her Mini hit an oncoming Vauxhall Astra SRi, slightly injuring its driver, Lee McKinnon.
At Falkirk Sheriff Court yesterday, Tuddenham, 53, a former classroom assistant, was told she was lucky not to be jailed.
Sheriff William Gallacher sentenced her to carry out 240 hours of unpaid work and banned her from driving for five years.
He also ordered her to take alcohol counselling and placed her under 18-months’ supervision.
“When I read your case I was horrified,” he said. “Your manner of driving could have killed you and many other people.
“You were driving when you were about three times over the limit. Not long before you had been in court for drink driving.
“I have a responsibility to protect the public and have spent time considering if I’m required to send you to custody.
“You drove in a simply disgraceful way with people coming towards you, and you continued for two or three miles.
“The fact no one was hurt was more by divine intervention rather than any action by you.
“I’m prepared to exercise my discretion – you can give back to the community rather than be a drain on it.”
Emma White, prosecuting, said the incident occurred about 6:40pm on 22 October last year.
She said Tuddenham, who has one previous conviction for drink-driving, drove through a no entry sign at junction one on the motorway, and travelled the wrong way along it for three miles to the point where it merges with the M9.
The depute fiscal said: “The accused drove in the wrong direction and avoided colliding with oncoming traffic due to the evasive actions of others.
“Another driver observed the accused vehicle driving the wrong direction in the overtaking lane, and her leaning forward over the steering wheel. The traffic was moderate to busy.
“The accused continued to drive her vehicle into the face of oncoming traffic and collided with Lee McKinnon’s vehicle and both vehicles came to a halt.”
Tuddenham, of Kersegreen Road, Clackmannan, now a carer, pleaded guilty to dangerous driving and driving with excess alcohol.
Defence agent Gordon Addison said that the incident had been “catastrophic” for Tuddenham, who had turned to drinking alone when she began suffering from anxiety.
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