Dog groomer drives while almost nine times over limit

 

A southeast Queensland magistrate and police prosecutor were shocked by the highest drink driving rating they had ever seen today.

A doctor's letter tendered at the Cleveland Magistrates Court hearing for Bridgette Dorothy Walls, 37, stated that a certain percentage of people would have died outright from the 0.472 per cent blood-alcohol reading she was confirmed with.

At more than eight-and-half times the legal limit the sky-high reading so appalled police prosecutor Senior Sergeant Angela Tetley she told the court it was the highest such reading she had seen in a person still alive.

"This is the highest reading I have seen where the person is still alive and that is in my capacity as a paramedic and a police officer," Sen Sgt Tetley said.

"Thank god she hasn't killed someone in the community - she has gone through someone's backyard (with her car), injured herself and her vehicle and (done so) with a massive reading".

It came after Walls today pleaded guilty to one count of driving while under the influence of liquor (UIL).

 

Bridgette Walls with defence solicitor Bernhard Bradley at Cleveland Magistrates Court. Picture: Marcel Baum
Bridgette Walls with defence solicitor Bernhard Bradley at Cleveland Magistrates Court. Picture: Marcel Baum

 

The court heard the Capalaba woman, a mother of three who runs a successful dog grooming business, had two whiskies on July 6 before allegedly blacking out.

Sen Sgt Tetley said the defendant was found later that day at 11.25am by police slumped over and unresponsive in her vehicle after having crashed into a vehicle out the front of a Capalaba property.

Magistrate Deborah Vasta said in her nine years as a magistrate it was the highest reading for drink driving she had dealt with and marvelled that the woman had been able to get into a vehicle and drive.

"She obviously has a real alcohol problem that her body is starting to get used to, because anyone else would be comatose," Magistrate Vasta said.

However, defence solicitor Bernard Bradley said his client was not a recidivist offender, had last appeared at court for drink driving some 14 years ago and had fallen prey to a "bad friend" on the day.

Mr Bradley told the court a person once thought of as a good friend to the defendant had brought a bottle of scotch to her residence despite knowing of Walls' alcoholic history.

Having not drunk alcohol in years, the court heard, Walls "polished off the bottle" to near disastrous consequences and the exceedingly high reading.

The court was told police would only speak with Walls on July 21 when she admitted to having two drinks on July 6 but could recall little of what happened afterwards.

A "myriad" of character references were tendered on behalf of the defendant, who Mr Bradley said had completed the Queensland Traffic Offenders Program and "regularly engaged with" alcohol counselling.

 

Bridgette Walls has fronted Cleveland Magistrates Court for what was described by a magistrate as the highest blood-alcohol reading she has dealt with. Picture: Facebook.
Bridgette Walls has fronted Cleveland Magistrates Court for what was described by a magistrate as the highest blood-alcohol reading she has dealt with. Picture: Facebook.

 

Magistrate Vasta acknowledged that a reading so high meant the defendant "could not possibly have been aware of her decision-making" and had operated in more-or-less an autonomous state "like a robot".

Walls was sentenced to three years' probation and disqualified from driving for 18 months.

The astounding case of drink driving comes during a year of particularly high road fatalities.

As of November 22, 245 people had died on Queensland roads.

Yet despite this, drink drivers, who feature prominently as one of the "fatal five", seemingly proliferate.

The following drivers all pleaded guilty to high-range drink driving (UIL):

Earlier today Magistrate Simon Young berated serial high-range drink driver Jodie Leigh Boulton for what he described as one of the year's worst drink drive offences.

Boulton, the Holland Park Magistrates Court heard, was found slumped over the centre console of her Honda Accord and would return a 0.344 per cent blood-alcohol reading on Hamilton Road in Moorooka late on July 9.

Last week the Cleveland Magistrates Court heard qualified nurse Rachael Louise Casson, 33, had driven and crashed with a confirmed blood-alcohol reading of 0.252 and 0.248 per cent on two occasions in the space of fortnight in March 2018.

On August 2 the Cleveland court heard Macleay Island Golf Club cellarman Christopher William Graham Fish, 51 at the time, was intercepted driving with a reading of 0.208 per cent near his home at 4pm on June 6 on Brighton Road.

And on July 7 chef Cameron Mark London, 46, pleaded guilty at Cleveland Magistrates Court to driving while more than five times the alcohol limit.

Bloodied and in need of emergency removal from a single-vehicle crash on Bloomfield St in Cleveland at 11.50pm on February 8, London returned a 0.255 per cent alcohol reading an hour after the incident.

According to Go To Court Lawyers, the highest BAC reading ever recorded in Australia was 0.486 per cent BAC.

 

 

 

Originally published as Dog groomer drives while almost nine times limit