Drink driver tells of shame

A LEARNER driver is banned from the road for two years today after refusing a drink-drive test following a collision with a stationary car.

A LEARNER driver is banned from the road for two years today after refusing a drink-drive test following a collision with a stationary car.

Rachel Heffer, of Lotus Close, Ipswich, was also charged with leaving the scene of a crash, driving not in accordance with a licence and failing to stop after an accident.

The 21-year-old, who apologised for her actions to Ipswich magistrates when she admitted all four charges, told the court: “I realise I could have killed somebody and that's what frightens me the most.”

Prosecutor Lesla Small said the owner of the stationary vehicle was walking in Bramford Lane towards his home at 11.20pm last Sunday when he saw a Ford Fiesta veer into his car.

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The crash caused about £1,500 worth of damage to the passenger side of his vehicle, the court heard.

The owner shouted at Heffer, who was driving the Fiesta, to stop and she pulled over at the junction with Eustace Road.

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She was seen to get out of the vehicle and started walking away without giving any details.

Officers stopped Heffer at the junction of Bramford Lane and Bennett Road, although she did start to walk away quickly.

A roadside breath test indicated a positive reading and she admitted she had hit the parked car. However when she was arrested and taken to the police station, there was an error with the intoximeter used to measure the amount of alcohol in her breath.

Heffer then refused a blood test, citing depression as a reason, although a doctor said this was not a valid excuse.

Magistrates were told Heffer's former partner had left the keys to his Fiesta at her house while he went on holiday to Tenerife. Taking care to hide them from her, he also reminded her not to drive the vehicle as she was a learner.

Ms Small said Heffer had consumed two bottles of wine when she ran out of cigarettes. She found the keys in a drawer by accident and took the Fiesta to buy some more cigarettes as well as to give a friend a lift home.

In mitigation, Heffer said: “I can't believe I did it. It was totally out of character. I had tablets that day which interacted with the alcohol. I'm just really, really sorry. I just wish I could turn back the clock. I had almost finished my driving lessons and I have ruined that now. I just feel ashamed of myself.”

In addition to her ban, Heffer was fined a total of £300 and ordered to pay prosecution costs of £34.

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