LESS than three hours after she was disqualified for drink driving, Caroline Ashthore Throwden was behind the wheel with her two-year-old son and on her way to pick up her six-year-old daughter from school.
This time she was driving with a blood alcohol reading of 0.252 - more than five times over the legal limit - and was so intoxicated that concerned teachers at the school called police.
Throwden, 30, of Government Road, Nelson Bay, appeared in Raymond Terrace Local Court on Monday where she pleaded guilty to high-range drink driving.
But it was a discussion in court about whether or not the March 11 high-range offence constituted a second drink driving offence that revealed Throwden had been sentenced for low-range drink driving in Raymond Terrace Local Court only hours before she was caught outside Tomaree Public School.
According to court documents, Throwden appeared in court at 1.35pm on March 11 and was disqualified from driving for three months and placed on a 12-month good behaviour bond.
But it's believed the disqualification wasn't yet in the system when she was spoken to by police and breath tested outside the school at 4.35pm.
The discrepancy wasn't identified until after her first court appearance on Monday and means police are now preparing to charge her with driving while disqualified. Magistrate Brett Shields and her solicitor, Peter North, had already warned Throwden that she was likely looking at a jail term, due to her record and the circumstances of the high-range drink driving offence.
But that additional charge, and the fact Throwden almost immediately breached a good behaviour bond, leaves her in an even more precarious position.
Police say they were called to the school after teachers became concerned that Throwden was late to pick up her daughter and then appeared intoxicated.
When police spoke with Throwden, they said she "smelt strongly of alcohol, was a little unsteady on her feet, the whites of her eyes were dark and appeared bloodshot and her speech was slurred".
She admitted to driving to the school to pick up her daughter but said she planned to walk home with her children.
She was breath-tested at the scene and returned a positive result. Police then took her to Nelson Bay police station, where she blew 0.252, and suspended her licence on the spot.
"There is a large number of children that attend [the school]... and that coupled with the extremely high alcohol reading had the potential for a catastrophic outcome," police said.
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To be clear, I make no promises in relation to this. With that record a custodial sentence is well and truly on the table.Magistrate Brett Shields told solicitor Peter North in relation to his client, Caroline Ashthore Throwden.