A former TV star caught registering nearly five times the drink-drive limit as she set off on a 100-mile journey to her own hen do has been jailed.
Emily Corrie, who quit television for a new life in the Royal Navy in Portsmouth, even crashed into a man who stopped to help after she pulled over on the hard shoulder of the A3(M).
The sailor’s driving was ‘truly appalling’, said Portsmouth’s senior judge Roger Hetherington.
When police caught up with Corrie, whose most famous role was as Sooz in As If!, the character that inspired the Mcfly song Five Colours in her Hair, a test revealed she had 155 microgrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath – the legal limit is 35mg.
And PC Chris Powling, a roads policing unit officer based at Havant with 26 years experience, said Corrie, 36, of Twyford Avenue, Tipner, could have killed someone.
‘It’s very hard to think of a drink-driver I’ve dealt with who’s actually been in that condition who’s still able to walk when she’s that drunk,’ he said.
She could have killed someone quite easily and wouldn’t have even known about itPC Chris Powling
He added: ‘She could have killed someone quite easily and wouldn’t have even known about it.’
Daniel Sawyer, prosecuting, told Portsmouth Crown Court of Corrie’s dangerous driving from the Rudmore Roundabout in Portsmouth up to the A3(M) on her way to Hertfordshire on Friday, August 28.
He said Eriks Priedeslaipa, a passenger in another car, had followed her from the Rudmore Roundabout after seeing her almost slumped at the wheel. He called the police as he was worried.
Mr Sawyer said: ‘The defendant, driving a black Renault car, stopped at traffic lights on that roundabout.
‘When the lights turned green the car didn’t move off for 10 to 15 seconds then moved off with front wheels spinning.
‘She drove up the M275 in lane two of that road but drifted right a number of times and then back into lane two again.
‘The witness following behind wondered if the driver was ill or drunk.
‘As they overtook and looked in, saw the defendant driving, she looked like she was sweating and almost unconscious, her head was dropping. They slowed down, got behind her, got the number plate.
‘She was going 60 to 80 miles an hour, still drifting, nearly hitting other vehicles.
‘On the A27 eastbound the defendant then took the sliproad up to the A3(M) still being followed.
‘The A3(M) was two lanes, she was straddling the two lanes, and suddenly slowed down and stopped on the hard shoulder between Horndean and Waterlooville junctions.
‘The engine was running. She said she had broken down even though the engine was running.
‘The police officer got her out of the car where it was safe and required her to do a breath test. She was taken to Waterlooville. The lowest reading was 155mg in 100 millilitres of breath. The legal limit is 35mg.’
Corrie told police that she had set off for her hen do earlier than planned after speaking to her mother on the phone.
The newlywed stood wide-eyed in the dock at Portsmouth Crown Court as the judge jailed her for a year.
Sentencing, Judge Hetherington said: ‘It’s about as bad a case of dangerous driving as could occur.’
He added: ‘This wasn’t the action of someone who had drunk a little bit more than she should have done and set off on a short journey not realising that her driving ability would have been impaired.
‘It was someone who knew full well that you were hopelessly drunk.
‘You must have realised you were over the limit.’
Corrie was jailed for 12 months for the dangerous driving and four months for the excess alcohol to run concurrent.
She pleaded guilty to both offences. She was banned from driving for three years and must take an extended retest when reapplying.
Simon Moger, defending, said: ‘The defendant acknowledges her behaviour was irresponsible, irrational and dangerous. She said that this upset acted as a wake-up call for her, as a result of which she approached naval welfare and as a result of which she’s getting on alcohol treatment and has been referred to Alcoholics Anonymous sessions as well.’
Corrie is best known for playing the role of Sooz in the TV show As If. McFly’s debut number one single ‘Five Colours In Her Hair’ was written about her character.
Her last role was as Nell Mendez in the BBC series Casualty in 2007.
But after being asked to appear in the American version of As If, she became disillusioned with acting and quit in 2009 to enlist in the Royal Navy.
She said: ‘To be an actress in Los Angleles is demoralising. It brought about the realisation that I didn’t want to be in the industry anymore.
‘I’d done what I’d wanted to do and worked with some good writers and directors. I never wanted to be a leading lady and decided I just wanted to experience a normal life.’
After studying at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art, she had won her first screen role in 1999 playing Ray Winstone’s daughter in Births, Marriages And Deaths.
Passenger who went to help hit by drunk’s car
THE court heard from another driver who spotted Corrie’s bad driving and followed her, stopping when she did on the hard shoulder of the A3(M).
Daniel Sawyer, prosecuting, told the court that Eriks Priedeslaipa, a passenger in another car was first on the scene.
‘The witness (Mr Priedeslaipa) is a trained first aider and having seen the defendant, got out to see if she was ok, went round to the driver said “I’m a first aider, have you got any issues?”
‘She said “no issues I’m alright” and asked why.
‘The witness explained he’d seen her driving and wanted to help.’
‘He said “I could smell alcohol, she couldn’t keep her head up as she tried to put the car in gear”.’
‘Mr Priedeslaipa asked her to turn the car off as she kept trying to put the engine in gear.
‘She refused to hand her keys over.
‘He asked if she’d been drinking and she said “no just tired”.
‘The police by this stage had already been called, and the police were called again. The defendant was still trying to put the car in gear even though the engine was off.
‘By this time Mr Priedeslaipa was on the phone to police. The defendant was trying to ask him something but he couldn’t work out what because her speech was so slurred.
‘Suddenly the defendant started the car up and pulled off, the wheel pointing out into the motorway.
‘Because of where Mr Priedeslaipa was standing she pulled off she hit him, and knocked him on to the ground.
‘He hurt his hands, his right and left elbows as he hit the ground and found himself lying in lane one of the A3(M) in what frankly is rush hour, just after half four in the afternoon. Luckily there were no cars at that point.
‘He managed to get out of the lane and on to the hard shoulder.’