Piano teacher had driven car on ‘wheel rim’ after drinking

A part-time piano teacher has been banned from the roads after driving a car on the rim of a wheel after drinking.

Friday, 11th June 2021, 9:45 am

Janet Napier (49), of Rosses Meadow in Ballymena, admitted charges of driving with excess alcohol; using a vehicle in a dangerous condition and failing to provide a preliminary breath test.

A prosecutor told Ballymena Magistrates Court on Thursday that on the evening of April 28 this year police received a report from a member of public about a Micra car driving dangerously in front of his vehicle.

The person told police the Micra appeared to be driving with excess speed and and it was swerving between white lines and had a flat front left tyre.

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The member of the public followed the vehicle to an address in Ballymena and noted Napier appeared unsteady on her feet.

Police arrived and saw the vehicle in a driveway with a front left tyre missing and only the rim on show. There was also damage to the front bumper and wheel arch.

Napier was the only person in the house when police entered and officers noted she was slurring her words; was slow to react and there was a smell of intoxicating liquor from her breath.

The defendant failed to provide a preliminary breath test but she did provide a breath sample in custody which was 67 microgrammes of alcohol per 100 millilitres of breath - the legal limit is 35.

The defendant had a previously clear record.

A defence solicitor said Napier, a married mother-of-four, was a part-time piano teacher of “good character” who described April 28 as “the worst day of her life”.

The lawyer said it was the first time she had ever “put a foot wrong” and it had been a “total moment of madness”.

He said she had been driving for 15 years and it was her first time before a court.

The solicitor said the defendant had nothing to eat on April 28. She had felt in “low mood” and had taken three glasses of wine before driving “to go for a message”.

He said the tyre had blown out on the way home and as she was only a “short distance” from her house she decided to drive on but was noticed by other motorists.

The lawyer said thankfully nobody was hurt and Napier “wants to put this nightmare behind her, that’s her words”.

He said Napier had never been in such a situation and “didn’t understand” the procedures regarding giving a breath test.

The solicitor submitted a reference to the court.

The defendant was banned from driving for a year and fined £335.