A beautician caught drink-driving stunned a court by claiming she only got drunk in the seconds after she parked her sports car – by consuming vodka through her eyeball.
Chelsey McDonald, 30, tested almost twice the alcohol limit when police stopped her moments after she got out of her orange BMW 218 convertible to go a bar with friends.
But the mother of two insisted she had been sober whilst at the wheel of her vehicle and said she and friends poured capfuls of vodka into their eyes after she parked in the belief they would “get drunk faster.”
McDonald told JPs: “One of the girls said ‘Shall we put it in our eyeball’. Apparently it gets you drunk a lot faster than it does downing it. I was just excited, I could not wait to get out and park the car and be able to have a drink. “
At Sefton magistrates court, McDonald, of Huyton, Liverpool denied drink driving but was convicted after a trial in which prosecutors condemned her defence as “ridiculous.”
She was also found guilty of assaulting an emergency worker after she kicked out at police during her arrest. One officer said a half full 350cl bottle of vodka was spotted in her handbag.
The incident began at 9pm on November 13 last year in West Derby village Liverpool after a member of the public called police to express concerns about McDonald’s driving.
At a car park near the Hare and Hounds pub she was seen to turn right without indicating and just as a taxi was exiting. As a result of the manoeuvre she temporarily blocked the road and caused an oncoming car to stop.
As McDonald got out of the car she was seen to “do a little dance”, hug one of her friends and then stumble slightly in her long black boots before the trio went into the pub. Police caught up with them as they were about to get to the door.
Police bodycam footage showed McDonald repeatedly asking ‘What is going on?’ and ‘What are you arresting me for?’ then became aggressive after her mobile phone was seized.
As she pleaded: “Give me my phone, I’m not doing anything wrong, what the f*** is going on?” an officer replied:
“Someone saw you driving the vehicle. You’re clearly highly intoxicated.”
At one point McDonald apologised and said: “I am so sorry, I am so drunk” but then lashed out with her legs as she was being handcuffed. Whilst being restrained on the floor she kicked a PC in the chest area and she was placed in leg restraints.
Tests showed McDonald had 63 micrograms of alcohol in 100 mililitres of breath, the legal limit being 35mg.
Giving evidence McDonald said she had had two bottles of WKD earlier in the evening, one at around 5.30pm and the other about 6.10pm but that she had felt “absolutely fine” getting behind the wheel at 8.30pm.
Her friends Anna and Kim had a swig from an £8 or £9 bottle of vodka on the way, she said, and that once they had arrived she had three or four gulps before they each had a capful in the eye.
McDonald she had done it previously saying it was painful and stings but it was not “excruciating.” She said: “I know it was a pretty poor piece of driving. I did not use my indicators but it was more about, let’s park the car so we can have a night out. It had been a stressful day.
“I could not wait to get out. We were all really excited about getting out – the faster the better. When police came I did not know what was going on. All I kept hearing was the word ‘drunk’. Nobody came and explained to me in a nice manner. It was very rough.”
She claimed she only stumbled because she had pain in her eye because of the vodka. The court heard there was no spillage on her clothes, her hair, or makeup.
Prosecutor Miss Paula Grogan told the court it would be “practically impossible” for McDonald and her two friends to have completed the bizarre drinking game in the 14 seconds between parking and getting out of the car.
“She has had some vodka which she ingested orally and then explains this eyeball situation which is new to me,” said Miss Grogan.
“She put it all down to vodka she had consumed seconds before getting out of the car. You see her in the car for a maximum of 14 seconds before getting out. I say that she is showing all the actions of someone who is drunk.
“She gets out of the car, has a little dance, hugs a friend and stumbles. She would put that down to excitement and having pain in the eyeball because of the vodka. But she does not appear to have any issues with her eye at all.
“She does not appear to touch the eye in the car park. Furthermore, she goes on to say that because all this alcohol gets sucked into her eye it does not mess with her makeup, does not go on her clothes and does not go on her hair. Really?
“There is nothing to suggest that her eye is sore on the video and she makes no mention of it to the officer. This is because it’s not true. It’s something she has made up to get off this very sticky wicket that she finds herself in. She was not happy with the concept of spending a night in the cells.”
Earlier PC Jordan James told the hearing: “She was heavily intoxicated, slurring her speech, unsteady on her feet, and her eyes were glazed. She did not appear to be fully with it. She was not cooperative with the officers, refused to provide details, refused to say how she got to the location and was just generally dismissive of what we were trying to establish.
“She was handcuffed and after taking her mobile phone she became very volatile, lashing out and being generally disruptive which escalated both physically and verbally. She had to be restrained on the floor. She started kicking out and kicked at me and made contact with the stomach and chest area.”
For McDonald defence lawyer Keith Webster said: “The concept of putting vodka in your eyes is so left field, so painful, it is not something somebody would say if not true. Why not just say, ‘I drank lots of vodka’?”
McDonald was banned from driving for 18 months, sentenced to a 12-week 7pm-7am curfew and ordered to pay £395 in costs and victim surcharge.
JP Christina Hill told her: “We believe it is implausible that alcohol level could be attained by drinking in the car park in the manner you said.”