A drunken woman driver faced jail today after she admitted speeding down a motorway for 23 miles – in the WRONG direction – whilst TWICE the drink drive limit.
Reckless Deborah Hunt, 43, careered dangerously past oncoming vehicles and almost colliding with a police car with its blue lights flashing on the M5.
She flew northbound down the fast lane at 60mph in her Peugeot 806 despite driving on the southbound carriageway and being tailed by police with their ‘blues and twos’ on.
Jobless Hunt was only apprehended after her vehicle ran out of petrol on the hard shoulder – almost three junctions after she had joined the motorway.
The mother-of-three was still trying to start her engine and smelt strongly of drink when officers arrested her.
Hunt wept in the dock and shook uncontrollably as she pleaded guilty to dangerous driving, having excess alcohol and no insurance at North Somerset Magistrates Court today.
Nick Baker, chair of the bench, told her: ”This was a very dangerous incident. You drove for 23 miles the wrong way in the third lane of the motorway.
”You didn’t realise you were being pursued by police, were two-and-a-half times the drink drive limit and uninsured.”
The court heard Hunt had been drinking to drown her sorrows over her impending divorce before she got behind the wheel of her Peugeot on July 14.
She joined the wrong carriageway of the M5 at junction 24, Bridgwater, Somerset, at 11.30pm.
The shamed drinker then sped down lane three of the motorway, head-on into the path of terrified drivers.
A police patrol car had to swerve out of her path to avoid a horror smash at junction 22, Burnham-on-Sea.
Officers pursued her down the motorway with their lights flashing – but she carried on driving.
Michael Collins, prosecuting, said: ”Pc David Watson reported the vehicle to be travelling at 60mph in the third lane.
”Despite having his blue light illuminating she continued her way along with no change to her speed.”
Hunt eventually stopped just north of Burnham-on-Sea – 23 miles and more than two junctions later – but only when she ran out of petrol.
Police officers were then forced to scramble across six lanes of traffic to arrest her.
Mr Collins said: ”The vehicle eventually did stop on the hard shoulder.
”Pc Gray approached the vehicle, which was sat on the hard shoulder with its hazard lights on.
”He saw her trying the ignition key and turning the engine over. Pc Gray opened the door and removed the key.
”He noticed a strong smell of alcohol and a glazed look on her face. Her breathe smelt of intoxicating liquor.”
Hunt was found to have 83 micrograms of alcohol in 100ml of breathe – almost two-and-half times the legal limit.
Police also captured her reckless road-trip on CCTV.
Nigel Askham, defending, said his client was struggling to cope with an impending divorce and had been made redundant in May last year.
He said: ”She has very much come to the end of her tether.”
Magistrates adjourned sentencing to be held at Bristol Crown Court on August 30.
They imposed an interim disqualification on her driving license.
Hunt, of Langport, Somerset, was granted bail but refused to comment when leaving court.