Day of drama for attorney found drunk in car on N3

2012-10-04 00:00

A PROMINENT Pietermaritzburg attorney has escaped charges after she allegedly drove contra-flow to traffic on the N3 in an inebriated state on Tuesday afternoon.

The attorney was reported missing that night. Road Traffic Inspectorate spokesperson Zinhle Mngomezulu said officers were alerted to a woman driving contra-flow to traffic on the N3 on Tuesday.

She said by the time an officer responded, they found the car stopped on the crossover point near Chatterton Road. A breakdown service employee had stopped the attorney and taken her keys away from her, said Mngomezulu.

The tow-truck driver said he had seen the woman driving contra-flow to traffic after lunch that day and had taken her keys away as she “was not in a state to drive”.

He added that he saw other drivers taking evasive action to avoid being hit by her car.

Mngomezulu said the woman appeared to be deeply depressed and under the influence of alcohol.

“There was nothing we could do as she was not driving when we arrived, so no case was opened.”

However, the woman was tested for breath alcohol content and found to be over the limit. She was taken to the RTI’s Braid Street depot, where she was put in a room to sober up and calm down, as she appeared very agitated. Officers called the attorney’s husband to fetch her, but he initially declined to get involved.

“We begged him for assistance. We couldn’t drive her home, because we weren’t sure that she was giving us the correct home address,” said Mngomezulu.

However, the attorney allegedly left the RTI base and walked off. Mngomezulu said she was not driving, so the guard on duty let her leave.

Police spokesperson Captain Thulani Zwane said the woman allegedly wandered off from the RTI office, leaving her vehicle and personal belongings behind. A missing person’s file was opened at Pietermaritzburg Central police station that night.

“The Pietermaritzburg Search and Rescue Unit was immediately summoned and a search for her was conducted,” said Zwane.

The search was called off late on Tuesday night and resumed yesterday morning. While searching, the officers were told that the woman was at the police station, reporting her car as missing. No criminal case has been registered, said Zwane.

The attorney, when contacted yesterday, threatened to take legal action against The Witness, saying: “Your facts are incorrect. Should you publish anything, I will take legal action.”

• mlondi.radebe@witness.co.za

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