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Convicted drink drivers all register blood levels more than three times the legal limit

Saturday 14 January 2023 | Written by Al Williams | Published in Court, National

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Convicted drink drivers all register blood levels more than three times the legal limit
Three women, all involved in injury crashes, all caught drink driving with blood alcohol levels more than three times over the legal limit.

Three women, all involved in injury crashes, all caught drink driving with blood alcohol levels more than three times over the legal limit, have been fined and disqualified.

One was nearly seven times over the legal limit when she returned a blood test reading of 333.7mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood, following a head on crash on New Year’s Day

On January 1 about 10.15am, Susan Buchanan rode a scooter on the Main Rd at Tupapa and was involved in a crash with an oncoming car after the scooter crossed the centre line in the vicinity of the Cook Islands Game Fishing Club.

Buchanan appeared in court at Avarua on Thursday charged with careless driving and excess blood alcohol.

Buchanan told the court she was lucky no one was killed, after Justice of the Peace Tangi Taoro told she was fortunate no one was hurt.

“You must be thanking your lucky stars.”

The court heard Buchanan was headed in the direction of Avarua when she was “asleep in the middle of the road”.

She was taken to hospital and subsequently interviewed on January 9.

She couldn’t recall what had happened.

Two quotes were received for reparation, damage to the car, one for $3130 and another for $1260.

Buchanan said she had insurance which covered the cost of damage to the rental motorcycle then argued she was not responsible for the damage to the front end of the vehicle.

She said it was damage to the driver, passenger door and side mirror which she was responsible for.

“The damage at front was existing, the fender damage was existing.”

JP Taoro asked her if that was the only area she was responsible for.

Buchanan said that was what she was told by a police officer.

In accepting her guilty pleas, JP Taoro said she wanted to highlight how extremely high the level of alcohol was.

“No wonder you were swerving.”

Buchanan was disqualified from driving for 12 months, fined $500 with a 30 per cent discount for an early guilty plea bringing the fine amount to $350, ordered to pay $150 reparation for the blood test, $1260 for repairs to the car, and court costs of $50.

Buchanan, who lives overseas, was told her passport would be retained until she made the payments. 

Helene Johnson recorded a blood test reading of 214.7mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood after she was involved in a crash on December 31, 2022.

Appearing on careless driving and excess blood alcohol charges, the court heard Johnson crashed a scooter on the Back Rd about 9.40pm.

Police arrived at the scene to find her unconscious and she was taken to hospital.

When police questioned her, she said she had been at a beach and consuming alcohol before getting on the scooter.

She couldn’t remember anything.

Again, JP Taoro accepted her guilty pleas.

She was disqualified from driving for 12 months, fined $500 with a 30 per cent discount for an early guilty plea, bringing the amount fine to $350, fined $50 for careless driving, $50 court costs and $150 reparation for the blood test.

Memory Tuakana, on December 22, 2022, was involved in a crash at Nikao about 12.40am when travelling home from town in the Arorangi direction.

The bike flipped when she became distracted.

A blood test reading of 190.2mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood was recorded.

She was convicted and fined $450, discounted to $300 for an early guilty plea, disqualified for 12 months and ordered to pay $150 reparation for the blood test and $50 court costs.