Woman who drank two bottles of wine before driving the wrong way on A14 near Sproughton is jailed

Drink-driver Tracey Matthews

Drink-driver Tracey Matthews - Credit: Archant

A drink-driver who was more than three times the limit while driving the wrong way on the A14 at night has been jailed for six months.

Sentencing 48-year-old Tracey Matthews, of Cotman Road, Ipswich, Judge John Devaux praised the quick response of the police and said the arrival of officers on the scene within one or two minutes probably prevented her colliding with another vehicle.

The judge told Matthews, who was planning to drive to Mickfield to visit her partner: “This was an extremely dangerous piece of driving and there was a very real risk of causing death, multiple deaths, injury or damage.

“Your case is far removed from an elderly sober driver who in a moment of confusion takes the wrong slip road on to a dual carriageway.”

He said Matthews had drunk two bottles of wine before getting into her car and was more than three times the drink-drive limit.

Matthews admitted dangerous driving and drink driving and in addition to bring jailed she was banned from driving for four years.

Mark Roochove, prosecuting, told Ipswich Crown Court that police were called to the A14 at Sproughton because Matthews’ Peugeot 207 was heading in the wrong direction.

Officers tried to block her path but Matthews attempted to dodge the police car and when officers spoke to her they noticed she’d been drinking.

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A roadside breath test indicated she was more than three times the drink-drive limit and she was taken to the police investigation centre at Martlesham where a blood test was taken.

The reading showed she had 263 milligrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of blood. The legal limit is 80mlgs. Matthews told the police she had decided to leave home at 11.40pm on July 7 after drinking because she wanted to see her partner..

The court heard Matthews said she had panicked and was not travelling very fast at the time, although she did admit what she had done was dangerous.

Roger Thomson for Matthews accepted her driving on the night in question had been potentially extremely dangerous but fortunately it hadn’t resulted in an accident or injury.

He said Matthews, who has no previous convictions, had decided to drive to Mickfield because she was concerned after getting no response from her partner who had been unwell.

Mr Thomson said Matthews was extremely remorseful and since her arrest she had been receiving counselling and help from the Suffolk Alcohol Treatment Programme.

After an earlier hearing Suffolk Constabulary’s investigating officer, Pc John Clarke, said: “We are committed to enhancing road safety. Tracey Matthews’ actions that July night are inexcusable.

“These court cases should help educate people that drink-driving remains socially unacceptable and, equally importantly, professionally dangerous. A drink-driving conviction jeopardises future job prospects.”