A WOMAN caught driving down a footpath after a wine binge told cops her DOG was behind the wheel, a court heard.
Melissa Jenkins Johanson was drunk when she tried to reverse out of a car park four times in February.
The 47-year-old was leaving a bar and restaurant in South Wales during the middle of the day when a man noticed her attempting the manoeuvre in her drunk state and called the police.
Johanson managed to reverse on the fifth attempt before driving down a footpath and hitting a bus stop, which was next to a children’s play area.
And when two officers from Dyfed Powys Police visited her at her home, she blamed the whole thing on her pet dog Lily.
Swansea Crown Court heard yesterday, Johanson refused to give a sample of breath when asked by the officers.
She was then taken into custody and asked again, but refused for the second time, reports WalesOnline.
Police officers asked if they could take a sample of her blood, to which she also refused.
Hannah George, prosecuting, told the court how members of staff in the café ran outside to alert families that Johanson was driving on the footpath.
“She eventually went onto the main road where she paused for several minutes,” Ms George told the court.
“She then went to the Seaview Hotel and then went on to Tesco, where she was caught on CCTV footage.
“The officers arrived at her address and found the car substantially damaged.
“The officers then entered the property and were immediately hit with the smell of alcohol.
“She asked the police if they had any proof for her arrest and then said her friend had driven the car and also that her dog Lily drove the vehicle.”
Judge Huw Rees said Johanson was “so intoxicated” and was “babbling incoherent nonsense about her dog”.
Eyewitnesses watched Johanson driving around the park with a half-drunk bottle of wine in her vehicle.
On the day Johanson decided to blame her actions on her poor pup, she was already banned after a drink driving conviction from November last year.
Dean Pulling, defending, said his client has held down a good career and was a professional woman.
Johanson has a long history of mental health difficulties, and had been diagnosed with emotionally unstable personality disorder, the court heard.
Mr Pulling also argued she was driving at a slow speed and didn’t injure anyone.
And due to her previous cooperation with a community service order, Johanson’s lawyer told the court he felt there was a realistic prospect of rehabilitation.
‘DRINK IS YOUR NEMESIS’
Judge Rees told Johanson: “For some considerable period in recent years drink has been your nemesis.
“On November last year you were convicted of driving a vehicle while under the influence of excess alcohol.
“You were given an opportunity under the auspices of a 12-month community order to which your response has been slow in part.
“On February 15 this year you committed these offences. You were disqualified from driving only three months before.
“You had consumed alcohol and for that reason you failed to provide a specimen.
“When police arrived at your address there was an all-consuming smell of alcohol. In your babbling incoherence you showed how intoxicated you were.”
Judge Rees added the “selfish decision” made and Johanson’s “ignorance” could have resulted in someone being injured, maimed or killed.
He decided her “background of stability and education” justified a sentencing of 12 months, suspended for 18 months.
Johanson was also ordered to complete a 15-day rehabilitation course, 150 hours of unpaid work and is disqualified from driving for three years.
Source: The Sun