Councillor, a Woman, Drives Erratically: Also Involved Alcohol: Mixture Has Warning

Paragraph 15 reads:  "He said Councillor Bigg was receiving counselling and was being treated with antidepressants following a marriage breakup."

SSRI Stories Note:  The Physicians Desk Reference states that antidepressants can cause a craving for alcohol and alcohol abuse.  Also, the liver cannot metabolize the antidepressant and the alcohol simultaneously,  thus leading to higher levels of both alcohol and the antidepressant in the human body.

Drink drive councillor thought wine was alcohol-free

January 26, 2010

A councillor caught drink-driving said she confused alcoholic wine with non-alcoholic wine.

Tory Denise Bigg, 53, sobbed in the dock as a court heard she was caught behind the wheel while nearly three times over the legal limit.

Magistrates in Rochdale were told that two witnesses saw her driving her Honda Jazz 'erratically' along Bury New Road in Whitefield, near Bury, on November 12.

At one point the car almost hit a central reservation near Hilton Lane.

The witness told police the car was travelling at 10mph and 'swerving from side to side'.


A second witness then saw the car veer 'wildly' to the right then left before mounting a pavement and driving along it for 10 car lengths.

It eventually stopped near Barnes Street and Councillor Bigg, who represents the Elton ward on Bury Council, got out and was 'stumbling' as she walked in the direction of a McDonalds restaurant, the court heard.

Councillor Bigg was arrested and blood tests showed 202mg of alcohol in 100ml of blood. The legal limit is 80mg.

Shazia Aslam, prosecuting, said Councillor Bigg told police in interviews that she wouldn't be able to tell the difference between the taste of alcoholic or alcohol-free wine. She bought the wine a couple of days before the incident.

Ms Aslam said: “During interview she admitted going to the Asda store in Radcliffe to buy what she thought was non-alcoholic wine.

“She said that she did not realise until she got home from the police station that it was alcoholic.”

Coun Bigg, of Claydon Drive, Radcliffe, pleaded guilty to drink-driving.

She was fined £180 with £85 costs and banned from driving for 20 months.

Ian Baker, defending, said she was returning home from visiting a friend in hospital, who tragically died the following day.

He said Councillor Bigg was receiving counselling and was being treated with antidepressants following a marriage breakup.

Mr Baker said: “She feels sorry that she is in this situation. She feels sorry that she has let down her constituents and those who know her.


“She purchased what she thought was non-alcoholic wine. She had something to drink and something to eat. She believed that she was drinking non-alcoholic wine.

“She was shocked to discover just how much over the drink-drive limit she was.”

Councillor Bigg left court without commenting.

Asked about her future on the council, Councillor Yvonne Cresswell, Deputy Council Leader, said: “It is down to Denise. It is her choice.”