Flamstead woman escapes jail after being four times over drink-driving limit

Hertfordshire road police.

Hertfordshire road police. - Credit: Archant

Motorist given eight-week suspended sentence after high breath reading

A 58-year-old woman from Flamstead, who had been consuming neat vodka from water bottles to hide her drinking problem from her husband, admitted drink-driving while four times over the legal limit.

Karen Flitton, of Farrer Top, Flamstead, was given an eight-week suspended sentence at St Albans Magistrates court after the court heard that she was found slumped over her steering wheel on the hard shoulder of the M1 after being seen driving erratically.

Ms Malik, prosecuting, told the court that Mrs Flitton was seen driving close to the bumper of the vehicle in front of her before she was found parked “half in lane one, half in the hard-shoulder”.

When police and an ambulance crew arrived, Mrs Flitton became “aggressive and non-compliant”, according to Ms Malik, slapping one of the police officers and causing cuts to his hands and wrists.

Ms Burt, defending, told the court that Mrs Flitton had recently lost her mother-in-law and this had caused “significant difficulties within the family”.

She said: “Karen had started using alcohol as a coping method.”

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The night before she was found on the M1, according to Ms Burt, Mrs Flitton had been stuggling to sleep and had “had a few drinks between 12 and 3am”.

She added: “Karen felt okay and didn’t drive until 11am. She was supposed to take her mother to the hospital and felt like she was letting her family down by her actions.

“There wasn’t an accident but she accepts that there was potential for that.”

Mrs Flitton also pleaded guilty to assaulting a police officer. Magistrates ordered her to pay costs totalling £365, disqualified her from driving for 34 months and made an order that she attend a rehabilitation programme.