Sunderland university student's drink drive shame

A teenage drink-driver caught at almost four times the legal alcohol limit wept in the dock as she was told she could have gone to prison.
A woman being breathalysed.A woman being breathalysed.
A woman being breathalysed.

When Rebecca Hunt was caught by police in the early hours of Saturday, May 21, she had 134 microgrammes of alcohol in 100ml of breath – well over the limit of 35.

The 19-year-old university student then stalled her Renault Megane as she tried to reverse the car away from officers, Sunderland magistrates heard.

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Now she has been banned from driving for two-and-a-half years.

Prosecutor Rebecca Laverick said: “At 3.50am officers received a report of a drink driver. The vehicle had travelled from a bar in Green Terrace to the Travelodge carpark.

“When officers arrived they saw the vehicle travelling slowly in the carpark and they pulled up next to.

“The defendant tried to reverse the vehicle away from them, but it jumped backwards and stalled.

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“She was very obviously drunk and she failed a roadside breath test.”

Ms Laverick said the alcohol reading falls in the highest possible category, with a sentencing band up to 12 weeks in custody.

Hunt, of Minehead Gardens, Silksworth, pleaded guilty to driving with excess alcohol.

Probation officer Alan Cutting, who carried out an assessment on Hunt, said she had finished work at the Fat Buddha in Seaburn, when she received messages from friends on a night out, who persuaded her to join them.

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“She has driven her car there with no intention to drive it,” Mr Cutting said.

He added that, upon leaving, friends asked her to give them a lift home.

“She’s succumbed to peer pressure,” he said. “She knows what the consequences could have been. Thankfully there was no accident, no-one was hurt.

“She was very emotional during the interview, very remorseful and very upset at the situation. She doesn’t want to find herself in this situation ever again.”

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David Sherwood-Smith, defending, said: “This young lady is of previous good character. She is 19 years of age and I would ask you to factor in her lack of experience when making decisions.”

Hunt was sentenced to a 12-month community order with 180 hours of unpaid work and a 30-month driving ban. She was told to pay £85 costs and £85 victim surcharge.

Bench chairman Stephen Burdis said: We’ve taken into account your previous good character, but the high reading means we could well have sent you to prison, there’s no doubt about that.”