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Cocktail of drugs made driver confused

PUBLISHED: 20:39 10 April 2004 | UPDATED: 04:46 02 March 2010

A COCKTAIL of painkillers, flu treatments and sleeping pills left a driver unfit to be at the wheel.

South East Suffolk Magistrates Court heard how Rita Read crashed her Suzuki Swift into a Ford Transit van in Spring Road, Ipswich, on November 14 last year.

A COCKTAIL of painkillers, flu treatments and sleeping pills left a driver unfit to be at the wheel.

South East Suffolk Magistrates Court heard how Rita Read crashed her Suzuki Swift into a Ford Transit van in Spring Road, Ipswich, on November 14 last year.

Prosecutor Stephen Coleman said when police were called to the scene at about 2.20pm they found Read confused and disorientated.

She passed a breath test, but was arrested after failing four out of five tests to see if she was fit to drive.

Mr Coleman said blood tests revealed high levels of a sleep-inducing drug which causes drowsiness and dizziness and leads to a lack of co-ordination.

He said it was not a suitable drug to take for those needing to drive.

Read admitted being unfit to drive through the influence of drugs.

Alan Hughes, mitigating, said his client had been the victim of an unfortunate combination of events.

He said the 67-year-old had bought the sleeping pills over the counter to help treat her insomnia and had taken them the night before the accident.

On the day in question, Read was also suffering from pains in her legs and flu and had taken over-the-counter medication to help tackle them.

Mr Hughes said the accident was also partly caused by the fact his client was taking to the wheel of an automatic car for the first time.

When the van braked in front of her, she hit the accelerator instead of the brake pedal.

Mr Hughes said: "It's not taking drugs purposefully, it's not narcotics, it's not a person who has driven after smoking cannabis or taking other narcotics.

"It's a series of matters which came together to put this woman of 67 before the court.

"It's been a very distressing period for her and the whole process of coming to court has filled her with dread."

Magistrates banned Read from driving for 12 months, fined her £100 and ordered her to pay £70 costs.

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