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07 Jul 2022

Teenager who took the wheel after friend's migraines was over the limit

Defence for the 18-year-old said it had been a 'distressing episode' for her.

Magherafelt teenager had taken the wheel after friend's migraines

Magherafelt Magistrates Court.

A County Derry teenager was over the limit when she drove her friend's car back from KFC after her friend began suffering from migraine, a court has heard.

Cara McLaughlin, of Beechgrove Heights, entered a guilty plea to driving with excess alcohol on her breath and having no licence or insurance at Magherafelt Magistrates Court on Wednesday.

The 18-year-old had been driving a car that approached a police vehicle checkpoint on the Castledawson Road, Magherafelt at around 3.00am on Sunday April 24 2022.

Police observed the vehicle enter the car park of Home Bargains, and activated blue lights and sirens to signal for the driver to stop.

The car travelled a further 200m before stalling, and police observed the defendant climbing out of the driver's seat and into the rear offside passenger seat.

Police noted the defendant's eyes were glazed, her speech was slurred and that there was a smell of alcohol, before she informed them she had no licence and no insurance.

The defendant blew a reading of 43mg in breath after being taken to custody in Antrim.

Defence for McLaughlin said the incident had been a 'distressing episode' for the teenager, who was then suffering difficulties 'within her family unit'.

The court heard the defendant had initially been a passenger while her friend drove to the KFC restaurant at Castledawson roundabout for the pair to get food.

Her friend then began to experience migraine symptoms and asked McLaughlin to drive home.

Judge Mullan disqualified the defendant from driving for a period of 12 months and issued fines totalling £425, alongside an offender's levy of £15.

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