A WOMAN who left other motorists terrified as she went on a drunken and dangerous drive from Helensburgh has been spared jail.

Sandra Blair wept in the dock as she was told it was only by good luck that her actions hadn’t led to a tragedy.

Blair, 40, appeared in court for sentencing on November 22 after pleading guilty to charges of driving drunkenly and dangerously on the A818 and A82 earlier this year.

Her journey started in Sinclair Street in Helensburgh, continued on the A82 through Dumbarton, and didn’t stop until she was pulled over by police near the Dunglass roundabout in Bowling.

Sarah Healing, prosecuting, said Blair had driven into the back of another vehicle on Sinclair Street in Helensburgh, not once but twice, shortly before 4pm on September 27.

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Ms Healing described how Blair drove into the back of the first witness’s Renault Clio, reversed away, and then tried to drive round the vehicle - only to strike it for a second time.

Another woman, driving south on the A82 between the Stoneymollan and Lomondgate roundabouts, was then struck from behind at speed by Blair’s vehicle as she signalled to pull into the inside lane after overtaking an articulated lorry, forcing the lorry’s driver to brake sharply to avoid a collision.

“She was approached from behind by the accused’s vehicle, which struck her at speed,” Ms Healing told the court.

“The witness’s vehicle was pushed into lane one, ahead of the HGV, whose driver was required to brake heavily to avoid a collision.”

The woman pulled into a layby to calm herself down, but saw Blair drive away with her vehicle’s bonnet up, completely covering the windscreen, weaving from lane to lane, prompting the witness to call the police.

Another witness, seeing something similar, also dialled 999.

Ms Healing continued: “Prior to reaching the Lomondgate roundabout, the accused brought her vehicle to a stop, got out and put the bonnet down before returning to her vehicle and driving off.”

Police received numerous calls from concerned motorists and were “actively searching” for Blair’s vehicle, the court was told; they eventually pulled her over near Bowling.

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Samples of her breath later revealed a reading of 82 microgrammes of alcohol in 100ml of breath. The legal limit in Scotland is 22 microgrammes.

One police witness reported that the car’s bonnet was once again up, completely covering the windscreen, as it travelled towards the Dunglass roundabout, straddling both lanes of the carriageway.

Police eventually caught up with Blair’s car near Bowling and signalled it to stop.

“It became apparent to the officers that the accused was intoxicated,” Ms Healing added.

“She was slurring her words, swaying, and couldn’t stand up without assistance.”

After being cautioned and charged, Blair told police: “I’m sorry.”

Blair’s sentence was deferred until Friday to give social workers time to prepare a background report.

Gail Campbell, defending, said Blair, of Fullers Gate in Clydebank, had “no recollection” of the journey – and said she had been taken to hospital amid concerns that she may have taken a fatal overdose.

“Her first question to me,” Ms Campbell said, “was ‘am I going to jail for this?’.”

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Stating that Blair had been suspended from her job, Ms Campbell said her client had been given seven sleeping tablets earlier that day to “get her through” the September holiday weekend, when the incident happened.

“She remembers driving and taking alcohol,” Ms Campbell added.

“The word repeatedly mentioned in the social work report is ‘catastrophic’ – and potentially this could indeed have been catastrophic.

“She undoubtedly traumatised other drivers. She has to live with that. It’s fortunate that she can live with it, and fortunate that all the drivers who were involved came out unscathed.”

Echoing the words in the social work report, Sheriff William Gallacher said: “Her driving forced the driver of another car into the path of an HGV. That could have caused an utter catastrophe.

Sheriff William Gallacher told Blair: “I found these charges hard to believe on reading them. It is almost harder to believe that you are not appearing in the High Court having caused the death of one or more other persons. “It’s simply good luck that you did not cause a tragedy involving many other people.”

“But I’m conscious that there are others who depend upon you, and that it is not an imperative that I send you to prison.”

Instead of a jail term, Blair was told to carry out 250 hours of unpaid work within nine months, and will be supervised by social workers for two years.

She was banned from driving until March 2023, and must re-sit and pass the extended test before being allowed behind the wheel.

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