A mother-of-three who downed half a bottle of vodka before speeding down a dual carriageway in the wrong direction was told she narrowly avoided causing a ‘catastrophic’ accident.

Deborah Kelly’s dangerous driving came to a shuddering halt when she lost control of her car on a roundabout and crashed through a hedge before ploughing into a field.

Teesside Crown Court heard how the 52-year-old’s teenage son was in the car when she crashed her Daihatsu Sirion last summer.

Anthony Pettengell, prosecuting, said two other motorists spotted her car racing along the A66 towards Middlesbrough from Darlington with one having to flash his headlights to get her to move into the correct lane.

He said: “A HGV driver saw her travelling on the wrong side of the carriageway and passed him at 70mph.

“Another witness was driving at 60mph and as he drove past Sadberge he saw the car in the wrong side of the carriageway and passed him at about 85mph.

“At the roundabout where the A66 meets the A1150, she came off the road and crashed through a hedge and stopped in a field. She was in the car with her son.

“When the police spoke to her, she said she had been drinking having had two double vodkas two hours before driving.

“She said she didn’t know where she was going or whether she was on the wrong side of the carriageway.”

The court heard how Kelly was rushing home on the A66 as her two younger children were home alone and a road side breath test showed she was over the legal drink drive limit.

Kellly, of Kensington Road, Middlesbrough, pleaded guilty to dangerous driving after she was arrested in the early hours of August 24, last year following the crash near Darlington.

Kelleigh Lodge, mitigating, said the mother-of-three was the sole carer for her children as her partner was suffering from a severe mental health problem.

She added: “She fully complied with the police at the scene and she was very apologetic for her actions.

“She does deeply regret her actions.”

Judge Richard Bennett sentenced Kelly to eight months in custody suspended for 18 months and banned her from driving for 12 months for her dangerous driving.

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He said: “One of the motorists flashed their lights and you changed lanes and narrowly avoided a catastrophic accident.

“You then lost control of your car and crashed through a hedge – luckily no-one was injured.

“It was only by remarkable good fortune that you avoid a catastrophic accident that night.”

The drink driver was also ordered to carry out 150 hours of unpaid work, attend 40 rehabilitation activity requirement days and adhere to a 120-day alcohol abstinence order.