A liquor store manager has been credited for stopping a drunk woman from getting into her car and driving away.
Karen Lee Bowie has avoided going to prison on a fourth drink-drive charge. She was almost five times the legal limit when on May 26 she went to a Nelson store to buy alcohol.
Judge Noel Sainsbury said in sentencing her in the Nelson District Court today that Bowie was so intoxicated the store refused to sell her alcohol.
The manager noticed that as Bowie left, she went to her car and was about to drive off. He was concerned enough to stop her and take the car keys.
Police were called, and an evidential breath test showed Bowie had 1209 micrograms of alcohol per litre of breath.
Judge Sainsbury described it as a "huge reading", which in usual circumstances on a fourth drink-drive offence might warrant a prison term, but he considered several mitigating circumstances.
They included that Bowie's last offence was 13 years ago, and her "serious alcohol addiction" she had managed at times to get on top off.
The 56-year-old had been actively engaged with addiction support services but had recently endured a "significant bereavement" which led to the latest relapse.
"These aren't excuses but offer a place of understanding," Judge Sainsbury said.
He said given Bowie's track record of working to manage her addiction, the reason for the recent offending and the support she has, a sentence which focused on rehabilitation and support was needed.
Sainsbury sentenced Bowie to 18 months' intensive supervision and ordered her to attend an alcohol and drug programme, grief counselling and any other programme as directed.
He said she would be subject to judicial monitoring which would "keep an eye" on progress.
"If there is any further relapse then it can mean you end up being re-sentenced."
Bowie was also made subject to an interlock order, meaning she was disqualified from driving for 28 days and could then apply for an Alcohol Interlock Licence.
"Unless you jump through those hoops you will remain disqualified," Sainsbury warned Bowie.
- Tracy Neal, Open Justice