Driver who rear-ended vehicle while five times over the limit did not believe she was too drunk to drive

Traffic was congested when Christie-Lee Nash headed south on State Highway 6. (File photo)

Martin De Ruyter/Stuff

Traffic was congested when Christie-Lee Nash headed south on State Highway 6. (File photo)

A driver who drank tequila and beer before rear-ending a vehicle told a judge she didn’t know she was over the limit.

At Nelson District Court on Monday, Christie-Lee Nash, 48, pleaded guilty to charges of careless driving, and drink-driving, third or subsequent offence.

The police summary of facts said on November 18 last year at 4.15pm Nash was driving south on State Highway 6 towards Richmond.

Traffic was congested, and had come to a standstill at the roundabout.

* Intersection of alcohol and frustration fuels road chaos in central Nelson
* Dangerous Nelson driver more than four times over legal limit

Failing to notice traffic ahead had stopped, Nash went into the vehicle in front of her at 20kph.

A breath test returned 1376 micrograms of alcohol per litre of breath, more than five times over the legal alcohol limit of 250mcg.

Nash told police she was returning home after drinking beer and tequila at a local hotel. Talking to her passenger, she hadn’t realised the cars in front had stopped, she said.

Defence lawyer Rob Ord acknowledged Nash’s “poor judgement and far too much alcohol”. While she had three previous convictions for drink-driving, the most recent was in the 1990s, Ord said.

Judge Tony Zohrab said given the “incredibly high” level of alcohol in Nash’s system it was fortunate no one had been injured.

Zohrab referenced Nash’s letter of apology, where she said she did not know she was too drunk to drive.

“Your letter concerns me, that you didn’t think you were over the limit.”

Nash was convicted of her charges and sentenced to nine months supervision and 100 hours of community work.

Zohrab disqualified Nash from driving for 15 months. Upon completion of her disqualification, she would be subject to a three-year, zero-alcohol licence.