Woman jailed for drink driving

A DRINK driver who was four and a half times over the legal limit when she embarked on a shopping trip with three young children has been jailed.The journey ended when she ploughed her car into the back of a parked lorry.

A DRINK driver who was four and a half times over the legal limit when she crashed with three children in her car is in jail today.

Caroline Fletcher had embarked on a shopping trip which ended when her car ploughed into the back of a parked lorry in a lay-by on the A14 near the Orwell Bridge.

As reported on The Evening Star's website yesterday, Fletcher was jailed for 12 months and disqualified from driving for four years. She had previously pleaded guilty to dangerous driving and driving with excess alcohol.

Ipswich Crown Court heard the 28-year-old, of Grange Road, Felixstowe, was seen in her swerving car going from one side of the A14 to the other, coming dangerously close to the central reservation.

Kate Stephenson prosecuting, said Fletcher, who had only held a licence for six months, hit the grassy kerb at one point and dragged debris into the carriageway narrowly missing other road users as her “appalling” driving continued towards Ipswich.

Her car finally came to rest in the back of a lorry parked in a lay-by near Nacton.

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The court heard that an eye-witness first spotted Fletcher's car being driven erratically near the Port of Felixstowe road at 12.45pm on October 24 last year.

Miss Stephenson said: “He saw it swinging from one side to the other almost hitting other vehicles. It scraped down the side of an articulated lorry. Mr Tweed (the eye-witness) was extremely concerned because he thought a child was driving.”

Mr Tweed soon realised it was a small woman driving with three young children in the back.

The court heard he followed the car until it crashed into a lorry opposite the Orwell Crossing Restaurant.

Mr Tweed rescued the screaming children and placed them safely in his own car. He restricted Fletcher, who was wandering into the carriageway, and telephoned the police.

Fletcher was breathalysed and 162 micrograms of alcohol were found in 100 millilitres of breath. The legal limit is 35.

The distressed children were treated at Ipswich Hospital for cuts and bruises.

Joanne Eley mitigating, said Fletcher had become depressed, was having sleepless nights and had turned to alcohol due to stress and anxiety.

On the day in question she had drunk a bottle of vodka and not eaten before going to Tesco superstore at Copdock, which is about 15 miles away.

Ms Eley said Fletcher could not remember driving but realised about halfway that she was unfit to drive and she had intended to pull into the lay-by to call for help when she hit the lorry.

Judge John Devaux said: “You showed proper remorse and I'm told you are seeking help. You were a danger not only to other road users but to the three children.”

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