Teacher spared jail for driving wrong way down M55

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A teaching “champion” who drove seven miles on the wrong side of a motorway in Blackpool while drunk has walked free from court.

Stefanie Janikiewicz, 25, was told by a judge it was “a miracle” she had not harmed anyone but said her good character was partly the reason why she was not going straight to prison.

At the time of the incident the defendant was enrolled with Teach First, a charity which matches people with leadership potential to become inspirational teachers in schools in deprived areas.

Preston Crown Court heard Janikiewicz told police she was heading to Liverpool to see an ex-boyfriend but was actually on the M55 in Blackpool when she was arrested.

She had a “couple of drinks” on a train journey home from a visit to London to see her niece on May 12 and then went on to have a family meal in Didsbury, Manchester.

Susan Carter, prosecuting, said police started receiving calls at about midnight from concerned members of the public that a vehicle was travelling on the wrong side of the carriageway of the M55.

When an officer pulled her over she gave a breath test reading of 97mg of alcohol per 100ml - more than two-and-a-half times the legal limit of 35mg.

Janikiewicz, of Dawpool Farm, Station Road, Thurstaston, Wirral, admitted the offences of dangerous driving and driving with excess alcohol at an earlier hearing.

Virginia Hayton, defending, said her client could recall little of the incident after she had an argument following the meal and was “genuinely remorseful.”

She was sentenced to six months in jail for dangerous driving, suspended for 18 months. She received a concurrent four-month term for driving with excess alcohol, also suspended for 18 months.

She was also disqualified from driving for two years and told to take an extended retest.