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Doctor three times over drink drive limit 'couldn't walk straight' after crashing into sign

Katherine Williamson pleaded guilty to drink driving and wasn fined £1,219. (Reach)
Katherine Williamson pleaded guilty to drink driving and was fined £1,219. (Reach) (Reach)

An A&E doctor who crashed her car into a street sign was three times over the drink driving limit and “couldn’t walk straight”, a court has heard.

Katherine Williamson, 40, from Wynyard, Teesside, was so drunk she had difficulty speaking after the crash, Teesside Magistrates’ Court was told on Monday.

She mounted a grass verge in her black Audi A4 and crashed into the sign near her home at The Wynd, close to the junction of Mountstewart, in Wynyard.

Williamson pleaded guilty to drink driving and was fined £1,219, and also ordered to pay a £122 surcharge and £85 costs.

The University Hospital of North Tees consultant was taken to police custody after the single-vehicle crash on 6 September last year.

Prosecutor Jo Hesse told the court that a witness described her attention being drawn to Williamson's Audi driving "at speed" at about 4.50pm.

After the crash, Williamson was described as being "unsteady" on her feet, "couldn't walk in a straight line", had to balance on the police vehicle and "had trouble speaking".

Teesside Magistrates' Court and Family Court Hearing Centre, Victoria Square, Middlesbrough 17th July 1989. (Photo by Teesside Archive/Mirrorpix/Getty Images)
Katherine Williamson was fined at Teesside Magistrates' Court. (Getty Images) (Mirrorpix via Getty Images)

She was arrested and taken to police custody where she gave a drink driving test. Williamson provided a reading of 354mg in 100ml of urine. The legal limit is 107mg.

The court heard that Williamson has no previous convictions.

Charles Weidner, mitigating, said Williamson works as an A&E consultant at the University Hospital of North Tees in Stockton.

Prior to December 2020, Williamson worked as a lead in the trauma department and was subsequently involved in COVID work in the hospital, the court heard.

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However, she became depressed and "took herself out of work" to "resolve her problems”, the court was told.

After being released from police custody, Williamson was admitted to hospital and remained there for three days.

She began a phased return to work on 4 January and currently works about 40 hours per week.

Weidner said Williamson hasn't "drank a drop of alcohol" since the incident and voluntarily surrendered her licence to the DVLA.

"With the nature of Dr Williamson's work, nothing is going to be achieved from a community order compared to the work she has put in since September last year,” the defence barrister said.

Chair of the magistrates' bench, Peter Bowes, said they would not follow the guidelines of a community order, instead issuing Williamson with the fine.

She must pay the amount in full within 28 days.

Williamson was disqualified from driving for two years but was offered a place on the drink driver rehabilitation course.

“Please don't get behind the wheel of a car and hopefully you can go on to recover,” said Bowes.