A cosmetic practice owner who crashed her car while drunk has been spared a driving ban after claiming she accidentally drank her son’s vodka and orange for breakfast.
Michelle Butterworth, 37, was found to be almost twice the legal alcohol limit following a car crash but evaded a driving ban after she convinced a court she had drunk orange juice for breakfast – not realising it contained vodka.
The business woman said she was getting ready for work the morning after a farewell party to mark her moving home when she picked up a pint glass from her kitchen top and drank the contents.
But as she dropped off two passengers at a shopping mall at 8.40am, Butterworth – who was dressed in her hospital scrubs – bumped her Renault Clio in the back of another vehicle at a pedestrian crossing.
Butterworth later insisted she had not been drinking and said she discovered the orange juice contained vodka when she got home from the police station.
She said the vodka and orange drink was made by her son the previous evening and must have been left out after the party finished and she drank it not realising it contained alcohol.
At Manchester Magistrates Court, Butterworth who runs her practice giving anti-wrinkle injections, dermal fillers and lip enhancements in Swinton, near Salford admitted drink driving.
But she escaped with an absolute discharge and no disqualification after Justices of the Peace (JPs) said there were “special reasons” not to ban her from the roads.
The incident occurred last November after the driver from Urmston, who describes herself on social media as a law graduate and former personal trainer, threw a party to mark her moving to Harbourne in Birmingham.
She told the hearing: “I have just started my own business as an aesthetic nurse and I never go out and drive. I didn’t knowingly consume alcohol that morning.
“The night before we had been packing up boxes as I was due to leave Manchester and move to Birmingham and so I cooked a chilli and some drinks with friends at my house.
“I had three large glasses of white wine and I stopped drinking at around 9.30 or 10pm that night. I had work the next day and I am injecting people’s faces so I couldn’t be feeling rough my mind has to be clear.
“Two of my friends were there and my son and three of his friends. My son was drinking too as he was having a leaving party kind of thing.
“When I woke up the next morning I felt absolutely fine. I got up and showered and put on my hospital scrubs. There was a glass of orange juice on the side and it was in a pint glass.
“I didn’t know there was alcohol inside the orange juice – I have had two operations on my nose so my taste and sense of smell is poor.
“I loaded up my car up and drove to work. I was taking two passengers to the Trafford Centre and was turning to speak to them to see where they wanted dropping off and that’s when I went into the back of the car.
“I couldn’t get my head round it all so when I get home I discussed it with my son and I had drunk the orange juice and that is when the penny dropped.”
Her son Lewis Woods, 19, said: “I was having a few drinks with my friends because we were moving to Birmingham and we were drinking vodka and coke.
“We were drinking till about three in the morning but my mother was asleep. Later in the evening we ran out of mixer and so I used the orange juice in the fridge.
“But as I poured the juice I remembered that my friend doesn’t like orange juice with bits in it so I ended up just leaving it on the side and we called it a night.”
“I think I must have poured around four shots of vodka into the pint glass.”
But prosecutor Marion Nolan said tests showed Mrs Butterworth had 57 microgrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath with the legal limit being 35mg and that an expert report said the drink argument “didn’t add up”.
Miss Nolan said: “She says if she hadn’t drunk the vodka that morning she wouldn’t have been over the limit – and I understand that her son might have had friends round the night before and this drink was left by them from the night before.
“Ms Butterworth claims she drunk the night before three large glasses of white wine up until about 10pm and the next morning, she drunk a pint of orange juice that was left out on the side. What she didn’t know was that the orange juice contained vodka. She went out to work as a nurse and had this accident.
“But the police officer who saw Mrs Butterworth at the station said her eyes were glazed over and that she smelt of alcohol. The expert evidence does not agree with her version of events; he says it does not add up. He says the vodka she drank still wouldn’t account for the volume of alcohol found in her breath.”
Defence lawyer Paul Shepherd told JPs: “You’ve heard all the evidence in this case and it is for you to decide whether Ms Butterworth was knowingly over the drink drive limit when she left her house to go to work that morning or if you can apply special reasons to this case on the basis of a spiked drink argument.”
The officials said: “The evidence of yourself and your son was clear and consistent. We fine on the basis of a spiked drink argument, special reasons apply and it would not be suitable for us to disqualify you from driving.”
Business woman who crashed car while drunk 'accidentally drank vodka and orange... by: Pamela Hendrix published: