A COUNTY Fermanagh woman detected driving the wrong way on a major road with almost triple the legal alcohol limit in her system was aggressive when spoken to by police, replying “blah, blah blah” after caution.

Kellie Grimes (35), from Cloy Road, Ederney, pleaded guilty to dangerous driving and after consuming excess alcohol as well as failing to provide a specimen of breath.

She appeared before Newry Magistrate Court, which heard reports were received on the manner of her driving just after 9pm on July 25 last.

A vehicle had been spotted travelling the wrong way on the A1, Newry before making a U-turn.

Officers located the vehicle on the hard shoulder, with Grimes in the passenger seat, showing signs of intoxication.

She refused to provide a preliminary specimen of breath and became aggressive with police.

Following being arrested, she replied: “Blah, blah, blah” when cautioned.

While in custody, an evidential sample of blood was obtained which produced a reading of 224mg of alcohol – the limit being 80mg.

During interview, Grimes replied "No comment" to all questions put to her.

At court, a defence solicitor said his client has been employed as a care worker since January, 2020, carrying out an important frontline role during the health crisis, which was outlined in a reference from her employer.

He added Grimes has struggled with alcohol for some time, but when sober is “a very sensitive and caring individual”.

Describing alcoholism as a disease, the defence contended: “It’s not a path someone chooses.”

Deputy District Judge Anne Marshall noted a previous relevant conviction and remarked: “The defendant’s employers may not be aware of the seriousness of the dangerous driving. This is a very serious combination of offences.”

Addressing Grimes directly, the judge told her: “You were driving the wrong way down a busy road. You are extremely lucky you did not kill yourself, or someone else on the night in question.

"You may engage in the caring profession, but the public need to be protected.”

A 12-month probation order was imposed, along with a £200 fine, and a three-year driving disqualification.

Judge Marshall concluded: “Alcoholism may be a disease. You can choose to drink if you wish, but you cannot combine that with driving.”