A NURSE who crashed into a lamppost at 2pm in the afternoon was almost five times the legal drink drive limit.

Newton Aycliffe Magistrates’ Court heard that Elaine Younger had to be pulled from her Toyota Rav 4 by witnesses who ran to help her.

She was said to be slurring her speech and had to be held up after mounting an embankment and flipping the vehicle onto its side.

Oriana Frame, prosecuting, said: “Witnesses reported hearing a loud bang and on seeing the car ran to assist the driver.

“The engine was still revving and the defendant still had her foot on the pedal, she appeared to be unconscious.

“She failed a road side breath test and was taken to the police station where the lowest reading was 168mg of alcohol in 100ml of breath. The legal limit is 35mg.

“She was interviewed and said she couldn’t really recall the incident and she didn’t remember drinking alcohol that day. She said she binge drinks but does not consider herself an alcoholic.”

Adam Scott, mitigating, said Younger, 48, had “personal psychiatric difficulties” and was diagnosed with bipolar two, in which she suffered extreme depressive episodes.

He said: “She was drinking from August 1 to August 5 and went to sleep as you would after drinking wine and vodka. When she woke up she said she was going to the gym. Her husband thought she looked ok.”

Younger, of Beamish Hills, Beamish, near Durham, pleaded guilty to driving whilst above the legal drink drive limit.

A report from probation said: “She trained as a nurse in 1990 and works as a surgical staff nurse, although she has been off work for some time. She is an intelligent and articulate lady who understands the peril that she put other people in that day. It is a very high reading, certainly the highest reading I've ever seen.

“There are some chronic mental health difficulties, her father’s death had a detrimental effect on her. It has taken numerous medications and years for her to be properly diagnosed and she was using alcohol to self-medicate. She reports a significant improvement in her mental health and wellbeing now.”

The court heard that Younger was also convicted of failing to provide a specimen in 2016. Chair of the bench, Mark O’Neill, fined Younger £866 and she was also banned from driving for five years.

Mr O’Neill said: “There is plenty of support out there for you and we hope that you are successful in your endeavours.”