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Halloween party-goer ended up in ditch after making ‘foolish decision’ to drive home

Defence said her actions were 'very out of character'

Armagh Magistrates' Court

A Co Armagh woman ended up in a ditch after taking the “foolish decision” to drive home from Halloween celebrations in Tandragee.

The 20-year-old’s barrister told court that the defendant, who appeared with no record, had been in her car for between 30 seconds and a minute when the accident occurred.

Courtney McIvor, of Rowan Manor, Craigavon pleaded guilty to driving with excess alcohol at Armagh Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday.

Prosecution outlined that on November 1, at 12.45am police were called to a one vehicle collision on the Laurelvale Road in Tandragee.

Officers arrived to find a Citroen car which had crashed into a ditch.

The defendant, who identified herself as the driver, appeared unsteady on her feet, her eyes were glazed and she smelled of alcohol.

Police conducted a preliminary breath test at the roadside which resulted in a fail and McIvor was subsequently arrested, at 1.02am.

Whilst at Lurgan Custody Suite, an evidential sample of the defendant’s breath was obtained which gave a reading of 86mg of alcohol in 100ml of breath – over twice the legal limit.

District Judge Paul Copeland commented: “This is a very high reading for someone so young.”

Defence barrister John McCann stated: “This is not a young lady who drinks very often. It was Halloween night and she had gone out with her boyfriend in Tandragee.

“She made the stupid decision to drive home and by her own instructions she was in the car for between 30 seconds and a minute.”

He continued: “The only property damaged was her own vehicle. This is a very industrious woman in other aspects of her life; she is a Girls Brigade leader and has been for some time.

“The car she saved up to buy with a lump sum. The damage to it is in the region of £500 to £600 but she has not driven since given the situation.”

Mr McCann added: “She works two jobs, one in a special needs school and the other as a waitress, she has no record, no points and this was very out of character for this young lady.”

McIvor was disqualified from driving for 16 months and was ordered to pay a fine of £300, along with the offender’s levy of £15, within 12 weeks.

The defendant was certified for the drink driving course which would see her ban reduced by one quarter upon completion.

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