A former traffic cop who reported a drink driver says he is dismayed that she escaped a ban.
Steve Paterson called police after Caroline Robinson bumped his VW Passat with her partner’s car after boozing on vodka and cokes.
Anyone who drink drives, as a former policeman, they should be given a disqualification for that.Steve Paterson
When she was arrested an hour later, a test found she had 328microgrammes of alcohol in 100militires of blood – the limit is 85microgrammes.
But, as the Echo reported last week, the 42-year-old escaped a driving ban when she appeared at Peterlee Magistrates Court after persuading the bench she had only driven a short distance, did not intend to drive and there was “not a clear danger” to others using the road.
Steve had been alerted by a neighbour in Eastlea Road, Eastlea, Seaham, after she heard the collision, caused when Robinson said she had moved the VW Golf a foot forwards and backwards to straighten it up.
While Steve, 44, has been left angry after his new car’s bumper and number plate were damaged, he has joined Echo readers in speaking out about the sentence given to Robinson.
Robinson, of Essex Crescent, Seaham, had her licence endorsed with 11 points, and was told to pay a £275 fine, a £27.50 victim surcharge and £85 court costs after she admitted drink driving on February 15.
Steve, who now lives in Ryhope with partner Tracey Weatherill, 37, and works as a emergency care assistant for the North East Ambulance Service, had a career as a police officer with Northumbria from 1994 to 2009 and was a traffic officer from 2005.
He said: “I used to be a traffic policeman, so drink driving infuriates me, it really does. The bumper was pushed in and I think there’s a bracket behind it damaged – I’d only had the car a few months, I worked hard for it.
“But what would have happened if there’d been a kid in the road?
“The bumper is metal and plastic, it can be fixed, but if she’d driven that car and hit someone? That’s what got me and that’s why I phoned the police.
“The value of the damage is minimal and it’s upsetting, but to me, that value is nothing to killing someone.
“Anyone who drink drives, as a former policeman, they should be given a disqualification for that. When I saw the sentence, I thought it was wrong, it’s sending out the wrong message.”
The court heard Robinson had hidden her drink when police turned up to speak to her at her partner’s house because she was scared and had never been in trouble before.
She said she decided to move the car because he was out at dominoes when it had been parked jutting out into the street by a friend who had replaced its tyre after a slash attack.
During her evidence, Robinson said no damage had been caused to the cars and she had continued to drink after the bump, which she said would have increased her alcohol reading.