Warrnambool drink-driver blows .220, says alcoholism helped her drive with such a high reading

A WARRNAMBOOL driver with a blood alcohol content of .220 said her alcoholism meant she had been able to drive without crashing despite such a high reading.

Nicole Arundell, 47, of Clifton Street, pleaded guilty in the Warrnambool Magistrates Court on Monday to single counts of speeding and driving while exceeding the prescribed level of alcohol.

The court heard Arundell was stopped by police at 12.05am on February 5 this year after she was recorded driving at 114km/h on the Princes Highway near Terang.

An evidentiary breath test conducted 40 minutes later at the Camperdown police station revealed Arundell had a blood alcohol content of .220.

The police prosecutor told the court Arundell “admitted drinking a bottle of wine before driving and knew she’d be over the limit but said she suffered from anxiety and wanted to go home”.

Arundell, who represented herself, told the court she had been “at a concert on the other side of Pirron Yallock and got overwhelmed and had to go”.

“I knew it was stupid,” she said.

“I had a designated driver and had a place to stay and I knew I shouldn’t have driven but I did because I wanted to go home.

“I suffer from anxiety and depression and I had to leave.

“I’m a severe alcoholic and that’s why I was able to drive under that reading.

“Normal people would be off the road (from) that reading.”

A tearful Arundell told the court she was “going through a lot of stuff” but that she had subsequently been into detox and was on a waiting list for the Bridgehaven program, which is a women’s drug and alcohol rehabilitation program based in Preston.

Magistrate Cynthia Toose noted that Arundell had no prior criminal history.

Ms Toose ordered Arundell be disqualified for 22 months.

The magistrate also convicted and fined Arundell $800, saying that “with such a high reading it has be a significant fine”.