Teenage drink-driver banned after ‘extremely dangerous’ journey to town

A teenager who took her father’s car and drove drunk from Brae to Lerwick in first gear has been banned from the road.

Kara Birrell, from Moorfield, Brae, drove without insurance, a driving licence and while missing a front tyre from her home to Lerwick on 2nd January 2023.

The 18-year-old – who could not be named on her last appearance at Lerwick Sheriff Court because she was then only 17 – previously admitted five driving offences.

The court heard last month Birrell had taken the car and “basically went on a joyride with a friend” while drunk, and having never driven before.

Procurator fiscal Duncan MacKenzie said her car was “weaving back and forth all over the road”, and that another driver heard “the sound of metal on the road” and “saw sparks coming from the wheel”.

Birrell eventually drove out of Lerwick again and crashed into a ditch, just south of Catfirth.

She gave a reading of 36 micrograms of alcohol per 100ml of breath – the legal limit is 22- and had no licence or insurance.

Returning for sentencing at Lerwick Sheriff Court today (Wednesday), defence agent Tommy Allan admitted Birrell “didn’t really have a clue about driving a car or the potential consequences”.

Mr Allan said the teenager “couldn’t even get the car in gear” without the help of her friend.

Reading from a social work report presented to him, Sheriff Ian Cruickshank said Birrell had driven from Brae to Lerwick in first gear and with her friend operating the wipers for her.

Mr Allan said his client “seems to be genuinely shocked by her behaviour”.

Sheriff Cruickshank said Birrell’s driving had been “absolutely ridiculous and extremely dangerous”.

He banned her from the road for a period of 20 months, after which she will have to sit an extended driving test.

The sheriff also ordered Birrell to carry out 135 hours of unpaid work within the next year, and placed her under supervision for a period of 15 months.


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