A FEMALE journalist who police allege drove on the wrong side of the road while drunk has been told she is “facing a jail sentence”.
Daily Telegraph political editor Samantha Louise Maiden, 43, pleaded guilty to two charges of not obeying the direction of police and driving with a mid-range prescribed content of alcohol.
Police facts tendered in Goulburn Local Court today said on March 20 at 2.10am, police were travelling south on the Goulburn to Crookwell Rd when at Kingsdale, about 5km south of the town, they saw a Hyundai Sante Fe driven by Maiden travelling ahead in the same direction.
The facts allege that: police saw the Hyundai suddenly swerve left and move back to the right over double marked lines, travelling on the wrong side of the road around a left hand bend.
Police caught up with the car, still travelling in the wrong lane, flashing a left-hand indicator.
Police activated warning lights and their high beam and allege the Hyundai pulled back into the correct lane, illuminating its brake lights briefly, but failed to stop. Police activated a siren, but the car continued on at 80km/h, again swerving and crossing over double lines and back.
The Hyundai’s speed moved between 80km/h and 110km/h and continued towards Goulburn.
Police terminated this pursuit about 1km from the town and stationed a highway patrol vehicle in Fitzroy St. The Hyundai passed the highway patrol and a second police pursuit commenced.
On entering Fitzroy St’s 50km zone, police estimate the Hyundai was travelling at 80km/h.
The Hyundai moved into the left-hand breakdown lane and, after travelling about 100m, turned right into Lamarra Place, narrowly missing a parked car, and came to a stop in the cul de sac.
Police approached the Hyundai. They removed Maiden and handcuffed her. She submitted to a breath test, which proved positive, was arrested, and taken to Goulburn Police Station.
At 3.12am, she recorded a breath analysis of 0.136g alcohol in 210L of breath. Maiden said she had been drinking champagne from 9pm until 1am, and estimated about five glasses.
Police facts also said Maiden had driven 40km on the country road and, although there was no other traffic on the road at the time, the potential danger to all road users was extremely high.
In court, Maiden’s solicitor said she had no prior convictions, handed up a certificate showing she had completed a ‘Know the risk’ drug and alcohol awareness program and asked for the matter to be adjourned to the Queanbeyan court, but Magistrate Pearce refused the request.
“It was an appalling piece of driving,” Magistrate Pearce said. “You are facing a jail sentence.
“You were on the wrong side of the road and there was a police pursuit.”
Magistrate Pearce ordered a presentence report to “look at alternatives to a jail sentence,” but added: “It is a very serious matter, make no mistake.”
Maiden’s case has been adjourned to reappear in Goulburn Local Court on May 18.