A woman who drunkenly drove the wrong way down the M5 has been spared jail.
The defendant admitted driving with excess alcohol and dangerous driving after taking her Vauxhall Astra north for four miles on a southbound stretch of the motorway in the West Midlands.
Footage of the incident played to court showed lorry drivers flashing their headlights at the 27-year-old’s car, with one saying he thought somebody would be killed and “he might never see his wife a daughter again”.
The defendant, from Halesowen, was eventually stopped by traffic police when she left the motorway at West Bromwich in the early hours of December 4 last year.
The prosecutor said officers were dealing with a crash when they spotted the defendant leaving the motorway, busy with HGV traffic, using an entry slip road.
They tried to wave her down as she twice went the wrong way around the roundabout junction, and finally halted her by stepping out into the road and flashing their torches.
The red-eyed mum-of-three was then breathalysed and later blew a reading of 79 micrograms of alcohol in 100 milliliters of breath, which is more than twice the legal limit of 35mcg.
She was told by Judge Michael Dudley at Wolverhampton Crown Court she had committed a “very serious driving offence” which passed the custody threshold, but he handed her a four-month jail term suspended for 12 months for the dangerous driving offence.
She was also ordered to complete 180 hours of unpaid work and a year’s supervision by probation services.
For driving with excess alcohol she was given a month in prison, also suspended for 12 months, to run concurrently, banned from driving for three years, and ordered to pay £200 costs.
In mitigation, the defendant’s solicitor said his client was of previous good character and was “deeply, bitterly ashamed” of her actions.
He said friends, family and her GP all attested to the behaviour being “wholly out-of-character” for the single mother, but she had been dealing with a depressive illness which may have been affected by a “disastrous relationship” with a former partner.
Speaking after sentence outside court, the defendant said she was “sorry” for her actions.