COURT: Drunk teacher flees cops
A HERVEY Bay teacher, who tried to make a getaway from police while drunk, has been ordered to stay off the road for two-and-a-half years.
Rose Marie Whittingham cut a corner and drove through grass in her doomed flee attempt on February 10.
When she eventually stopped, her blood alcohol reading was .205.
The 32-year-old mum pleaded guilty in Hervey Bay Magistrates Court on Wednesday to failing to stop for police and drink-driving.
Police prosecutor Donna Sperling said officers initially attempted to intercept her about 11pm on the Saturday night because her headlights were off.
She said Whittingham stopped her car for the officers but as soon as they got out of their car to talk to her, she drove off.
A chase ensued along Main St and onto Old Maryborough Rd, but Whittingham eventually came to her senses and stopped.
Defence lawyer Hamish Isles said Whittingham made the irrational decision to take off at the realisation she was going to be in trouble.
"There was a moment of panic where she realised she was most certainly over the limit," Mr Isles said.
"The pursuit only lasted a short distance."
Whittingham started in her role at Hervey Bay State High School this year, after moving to the region from New South Wales.
She is also a lecturer with Charles Darwin University.
Mr Isles said the weekend of the offences was "traumatic" for her as the father of her two children, who Whittingham made an effort to distance from, was in Hervey Bay.
"She made the poor decision to consume some drinks with dinner," Mr Isles said.
Along with being disqualified from driving for two-and-a-half years, Whittingham was fined $7000.