A drunken woman caused a head-on crash – described as “the stuff of nightmares” – when she drove the wrong way on a dual carriageway at night.
Chloe Pressler was almost three times the drink-drive limit when she caused the smash and admitted to making a “grave error”.
Pressler, a midwifery student from Long Lawford, Rugby, claimed to have drunk three glasses of wine before setting off from Leicester to visit a friend in Loughborough when the crash happened on Leicester’s Narborough Road South in the early hours of Saturday, December 28.
The 21-year-old admitted dangerously driving a Peugeot 108 and driving with excess alcohol, reports LeicestershireLive.
She was given an eight-month jail sentence, suspended for 18 months, with 80 hours of unpaid work.
She was banned from driving for 18 months and ordered to pay £600 costs.
What did the prosecution say?
Lucky Thandi, prosecuting, told Leicester Crown Court the victim in the oncoming car, being driven on the correct side of the carriageway, suffered a chest injury with breathing difficulties and has lost her confidence in driving at night.
The prosecutor said the complainant was driving a Vauxhall Corsa towards Leicester and had just overtaken another vehicle when she realised a car was coming towards her on the wrong side of the carriageway.
Miss Thandi said: “She tried to avoid hitting the defendant’s car and scraped her Corsa along the concrete central reservation.”
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Pressler’s car struck the Corsa’s front passenger side pushing it further into the concrete and the driver was thrown forwards causing the seatbelt to hurt her chest.
A passing taxi driver stopped to help and a police car chanced upon the scene.
Pressler’s roadside breath test showed a reading of 90 microgrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath.
The legal limit is 35 microgrammes.
After a check up at hospital the defendant gave a breath test reading of 87 microgrammes at a police station.
‘Dreadful piece of driving’
Judge Ebrahim Mooncey said: “By any account this was a dreadful piece of driving.
“I query if you hadn’t been drinking that you’d have made the same error?
“For the other driver it must have been the stuff of nightmares, seeing a vehicle heading towards her on that road.
“She doesn’t look forward to driving anymore and has lost her confidence, but I hope in time that will change and that she’ll appreciate what happened was a rarity.
“You have been saved from immediate custody by the fact you’ve no previous convictions, no adverse driving matters against you, your remorse and young age.”
What was said in defence for Pressler?
Michael Garvey, mitigating, said: “It was a grave error she made and it’s not one she will be repeating.
“She’d been out with a friend and they had a couple of glasses of wine, not drinking to excess and then went home and had a third glass.”
Judge Mooncey said: “How can three glasses of wine put her so much over the limit?”
Mr Garvey said it may have been down to the size of the glasses and the strength of the wine.
He said: “She was intending to visit a friend and didn’t feel the amount she’d consumed at that point was too much.
“However, it affected her driving and she ended up making a wrong turn.
“It’s not clear how she ended up driving on the wrong side of the dual carriageway but she accepts full responsibility.
“She’s extremely remorseful and pleased to hear that the injuries caused to the other party weren’t long-lasting.”
Mr Garvey said Pressler had anxiety issues at the time, following an assault last year, and had taken a year off her midwifery course until January.
He said: “She felt a panic attack coming on just before the collision and had been looking for somewhere to pull over.
“She’s mortified to have been involved in an incident like this and it’s totally alien to her character.
“She doesn’t have a drink problem. She hasn’t driven since this.”