An allegedly drunk and unlicensed woman unwittingly steered straight into the hands of the law when she drove through an emergency services cordon.
The woman drove through the cordon at 4.20am on Saturday as firefighters battled a suspicious blaze that gutted the Te Aroha Athletics Club in the Waikato.
Fire trucks, cones and fire hoses blocked Rewi St at the time.
Police spotted a vehicle motoring west through the scene, without any headlights on, Sergeant Vic Sneddon, of the Morrinsville police, said.
"Once clear of the scene the driver continued on to a nearby supermarket car park where the 23-year-old unlicensed female driver tried to reverse away, still with no headlights on."
Sneddon said the woman returned a breath alcohol reading of 974 micrograms per litre of breath. The legal limit for an adult licensed driver is 400mcg.
"She told our staff she was trying to get to work on time when she was stopped."
Sneddon said a traffic offence notice for excess breath alcohol was issued as well as infringement notices for driving with no licence and no headlights.
The woman would appear in the Morrinsville District Court on a yet to be determined date.
It was "very concerning" to find the woman behind the wheel in allegedly such a state that she didn't realise she was driving through an emergency scene, police said.
"Even more so when you consider the lives of the emergency service workers she put at risk. If she had crashed further down the road it would have been these same workers who would strive to ensure she survived.
"Saturday morning's incident is a clear example of the throttle and the bottle don't mix - you either drink and not drive or drive and not drink - the choice is yours and if you choose otherwise you face death, injury or enforcement action."
- © Fairfax NZ News
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