A DRIVER who was so drunk she stumbled onto a busy A road when stopped by police during rush hour has been hit with an 18-month ban.

Elena Duddell, of Wheatland Close, Winchester, was three times the legal limit when pulled over by officers after they spotted her driving with a burst tyre on the A339 Ringway East in Basingstoke.

Wiping away the tears as she stood in the dock at Basingstoke Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday, July 27, the 50-year-old said she was “deeply ashamed” of her actions.

The court heard roads officers first noticed Duddell after she hesitantly pulled out in front of their squad car on a “heavily congested” roundabout at around 5.30pm on May 10.

A police statement read out by the prosecution said her silver Lexus was seen jolting as if it was about to break down.

As the officers followed closely behind, they noticed the front offside tyre was burst and black smoke was pouring out from the front of the vehicle.

After initially ignoring the officer’s signals for her to stop, Duddell was brought to a halt in the first lane of the A339 heading towards the town centre with her vehicle partially parked up the grass verge.

As she stepped out of the car she stumbled into the live lane of traffic. Police shouted out to her but said she seemed completely “spaced out”. She returned a reading of 105mg of alcohol in 100ml of breath at the scene.

Duddell said she was so embarrassed by her actions she couldn’t even bring herself to tell her friends about the court date – only recently managing to confess the crime to a priest.

She added that she had been suffering with depression and that she cares for her 16-year-old son as a single mother.

Duddell, who works in Basingstoke, said her car was her livelihood.

Magistrates banned her from driving for 18 months with the option to reduce that term if she completes a rehabilitation course before July next near.

She was also handed a one-month home curfew which will be effective between the hours of 9pm to 5am and electronically monitored.

The bench further imposed a surcharge of £95 and costs of £85.

Her guilty plea – which she entered on June 9 – was taken into account while imposing the sentence. The ban started from the date.