AN OFF-DUTY police officer protected motorists from a drink-driver’s dangerous manoeuvres in a smoking car on Tadcaster Road and the A64, York Crown Court heard.

James Howard, prosecuting, said businesswoman Sian Elizabeth Phelps, 27, who had already served one ban for drink driving, repeatedly went through red lights and swerved from lane to lane.

The North Yorkshire police officer was on his way to start his shift when he spotted her driving at 40 mph on the A64 at 6.30pm on October 21 with a damaged offside wheel and arch.

He followed immediately behind her with his hazard lights on to warn other motorists, alerted his on-duty colleagues and tracked her for them as she took the slip road onto Tadcaster Road and headed towards central York.

The road was busy as she went through red light after red light, said Mr Howard.

She eventually stopped on Park Street, off The Mount, where on-duty police officers, guided to her location by their colleague, breathalysed and arrested her. She was more than twice the drink drive limit.

Judge Simon Hickey said she had drunk a bottle of beer and had a half empty bottle of wine with her that she had planned to finish drinking on arrival at a hotel.

Catering business boss Phelps, of Lincoln Road, North Hykeham, Lincolnshire, pleaded guilty to dangerous driving, driving whilst unfit through drink, and driving without insurance because drink driving invalidated it.

She cried as the judge suspended a 12-month prison sentence for 18 months on condition she does 18 days’ rehabilitative activities and was ordered to pay £300 prosecution costs.

She was also banned from driving for three and a half years and will have to take an extended driving test before driving unsupervised again.

“Stay off the road,” Judge Hickey told her.

For Phelps, Kevin Blount said she had been in a “very distressed state” when she was arrested by the roadside. She had been struggling with deteriorating mental health and had decided to kill herself that day. She had had relationship problems, her latest relationship had ended in July and had been admitted to hospital for treatment.