NEW ZEALAND – A frisky feline’s attempt to take the wheel from his owner cost its drink-driving owner dearly when she appeared in court.
Austin Tori Renee Harvey appeared before community magistrate Robyn Paterson at the New Plymouth District Court on Wednesday. She was charged with dangerous driving, drink-driving and failure to answer police bail.
McKenzie stated that at approximately 7.50pm on June 17, Harvey left an address in Waitara, where she had been drinking with friends, and then headed home to collect various items including her cat.
The 21-year-old left her house, travelling south along SH3 towards New Plymouth.
“About 500 metres after the intersection of Devon and Egmont roads her cat jumped on to the steering wheel causing the defendant to get a fright,” McKenzie stated.
“She lost control of her vehicle and veered right heading towards the opposite side of the road colliding with the median barrier of the highway, preventing her from crossing on to the opposite lanes.”
McKenzie went on to explain that Harvey’s vehicle careered along the median barrier, causing significant damage to both, for about 100m before she wrestled it back on to the road.
She somehow managed to continue for another 500m before losing control of the at once again and veering left before crashing into the traffic island on Katere Rd knocking over a give way sign.
Harvey fled the scene, carrying her cat, but was later found by police a short time later walking along Katere Rd towards Egmont Rd.
She explained to police that her cat had jumped on to the steering wheel which caused her to lose control.
Harvey was proved to have a breath-alcohol level of 642 micrograms per litre of breath, the legal limit for drivers over 20 is 250mcg.
McKenzie explained that $6333 reparation was sought for the damage to the barrier.
Her defense lawyer, whose name is Josie Mooney, explained it had not been a conscious decision to continue driving and Harvey didn’t remember it.
“It all happened in a flash,” Mooney stated.
However, Paterson was able to shed a bit of light on the reason.
“It is because you were drunk.”
Harvey was sentenced to a total of 60 hours’ community work and disqualified her from driving for six months on each charge, the sentences are all to be served concurrently.
Paterson also ordered reparation to be paid at a minimum of $10 per week reminding Harvey it didn’t go away.