Breath spray drink-driver repentant

JIMMY ELLINGHAM
Last updated 16:34 18/02/2013

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A woman who drove three times over the breath alcohol limit no longer blames antibacterial breath spray for ramping up her reading.

Just before 5pm on November 2, Cheryl Marie Butcher, 40, was driving on Milson Line between Feilding and Palmerston North.

When tested by police her breath alcohol reading was 1307 micrograms.

The legal limit is 400mcg.

Also in her vehicle were her three teenagers, aged 10, 16 and 18.

During her previous appearance in the Feilding District Court, she wondered if a breath spray she had pushed her alcohol level up.

That prompted police prosecutor Stu Oram to point out that motorists had reported her ''erratic driving''.

At Butcher's sentencing today defence lawyer Mark Alderdice said she no longer blamed the spray, which she had been taking to treat an infected tooth.

''It had nothing to do with it. It's a red herring. She drank too much. She drove.''

On the day in question Butcher was at home in Marton when an old friend turned up unannounced.

The pair drank together, with Butcher downing three or four glasses of fortified wine.

She then had to take her children to their father's in Palmerston North as part of a custody arrangements, Mr Alderdice said.

''She was really somewhat dumbfounded by her high level.''

Judge Les Atkins said he thought Butcher must have had more to drink than what she claimed.

''It's the sort of action that ends up in deaths, maiming, disfigurement - awful consequences for innocent road users. It could have been your children,'' the judge told Butcher.

He gave her credit for her early guilty plea and previous clean record.

On one charge of drink-driving she was sentenced to 75 hours' community work, six months' supervision and disqualified for nine months.

Outside court, Butcher said publicity about her previous court appearance had repercussions on her children.

She had also had things thrown at her house and prank phone calls.

Butcher said she regretted driving after drinking.

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- Manawatu Standard

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