Drunk mum teaches herself to drive

A WOMAN was caught teaching herself to drive a manual car while almost four times the legal alcohol limit with her 10-year-old child in the passenger seat.

Police were called to Redbank Plains at 6.45pm on February 28 after reports of a utility “hooning in the street”.

Ipswich Magistrates Court heard there were several children playing in their front yards in the street at the time, and when police arrived, Cindy Lee McNeil abruptly stopped the vehicle on the footpath.

Prosecutor Sergeant Mathew Donnelly said there was a 10-year-old boy in the front passenger seat and McNeil registered a blood alcohol content of 0.19.

The 37-year-old had an automatic licence and told police she drove the manual ute because she was “in the process of teaching herself to drive it”.

“She refused to accept that she’d done anything wrong,” Sgt Donnelly said.

“She was abusive to police and neighbours when she was detained and showed no remorse for her actions.”

McNeil was arrested and taken to the watchhouse where she was unco-operative, telling officers to lock her up.

She pleaded guilty to driving under the influence of liquor, driving unlicensed in an unregistered, uninsured vehicle and obstructing police.

McNeil was fined $1500 and disqualified for nine months with no conviction recorded on the obstructing charge.

Defence lawyer Trevor Hoskin said his client had been doing yard work while drinking on the day and used the ute to get rubbish from one side of the yard to the other.

While she was driving, McNeil decided to take herself for an impromptu driving lesson in the ute she had bought for her ex-husband.

Mr Hoskin said McNeil, who had her automatic licence for almost 10 years, took herself to a quiet part of the street and was simply driving backwards and forwards to get used to the gears.

“It was 200 to 300 yards away from her yard – there’s a stretch of deserted road up there,” Mr Hoskin said.

“She didn’t think it was that bad, but she’s learnt a lesson.”

Magistrate Virginia Sturgess told McNeil she must have known she was over the legal alcohol limit.

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