Wirral drink-drive teacher Stefanie Janikiewicz spared jail

M55 motorway
Image caption Concerned members of the public reported a vehicle was travelling on the wrong side of the M55

A teacher who drove seven miles (11km) on the wrong side of a motorway while drunk has been given a suspended sentence at Preston Crown Court.

Stefanie Janikiewicz, 25, of Station Road, Thurstaston, Wirral, had previously admitted dangerous driving and driving with excess alcohol.

Ms Janikiewicz told police she was going to Liverpool but was actually on the M55 in Blackpool when arrested.

The judge at said it was "a miracle" she had not harmed anyone.

The Recorder of Preston, Judge Anthony Russell QC, said her good character was partly the reason why she was not going straight to prison.

At the time of the incident in May the defendant was enrolled with Teach First, a charity which aims to match people with leadership potential to become inspirational teachers in schools in deprived areas.

'Couple of drinks'

Preston Crown Court heard Ms Janikiewicz told police she was heading to Liverpool to see an ex-boyfriend.

She had a "couple of drinks" on a train journey home from a visit to London to see her niece on 12 May and then went on to have a family meal in Didsbury, Manchester.

Susan Carter, prosecuting, said police started receiving calls at about midnight from concerned members of the public that a vehicle was travelling on the wrong side of the carriageway of the M55.

The defendant's car was first sighted on the M6 and it was estimated she had travelled in the opposite direction at "crawling pace" for seven miles.

When an officer pulled her over she appeared "dazed and confused and smelled strongly of intoxicants," Miss Carter said.

She gave a breath test reading of 97mg of alcohol per 100ml - more than two-and-a-half times the legal limit of 35mg.

'Possessed her'

Virginia Hayton, defending, said her client could recall little of the incident after she had an argument following the meal.

"Whatever possessed her to get into the car she does not know," she said.

"She is genuinely remorseful."

She said the defendant had not touched any alcohol since drink-driving and had made progress with her problems.

Ms Janikiewicz was sentenced to six months in jail for dangerous driving, suspended for 18 months.

She received a concurrent four-month term for driving with excess alcohol, also suspended for 18 months.

She was also disqualified from driving for two years and ordered to take an extended retest.

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