A teacher from Northwich was handed a 26-week sentence suspended for two years for being behind the wheel of a car when she was two and a half times over the legal drink-drive limit.

Mary Dooley’s driving on Kingsmead on September 15 was so erratic a passenger in a van filmed her.

The 57-year-old, of Beach Road, admitted two counts of drink-driving when she appeared at Chester Magistrates Court on Wednesday (December 2).

Eye-witness account

Prosecutor Rob Youds told the court witness Ian Taylor noticed Dooley’s Citroen travelling in excess of the speed limit on the afternoon of September 15

When she drove into a hedge, Mr Taylor began to video her.

Mr Youds said motorists were beeping at Dooley – who teaches A Level students at South Cheshire College – in a bid to get her to pull over.

She reversed into the van after realising her mistake when she set off while a traffic light was still on red.

Police attended the scene but Dooley refused to provide a blood sample and was arrested.

A sample was eventually taken and she was found to have 298mg of alcohol to 100ml of blood – the legal limit in England and Wales is 80mg to 100ml of blood.

The court heard she also drove while intoxicated on August 14.

Health struggles

Derek MacDonald, defending, said: “She has had problems with drink in the past and unfortunately they have resurfaced again.”

Mr MacDonald explained that Dooley also suffers from insomnia and is off work at the moment due to her struggles with anxiety and depression.

Magistrates ordered her to pay £85 in costs, an £80 victim surcharge and a £150 criminal court charge.

Dooley has also been banned from the roads for five years.