A south-Sydney mother-of-two has narrowly avoided time behind bars over an alarming act of drunk, dangerous driving at Kiama while her four-year-old daughter was in the car.
The woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, told the court she remembered nothing of her actions that day but accepted full responsibility for the danger she’d caused to herself, her daughter and other road users.
Court documents said the woman’s driving came to the attention of police after concerned motorists contacted triple zero with reports of a car being driven erratically and at speed along the Princes Highway at Falls Creek during heavy traffic on the Sunday afternoon of the Australia Day long weekend.
Witnesses said they saw the car repeatedly swerve in and out of traffic and overtake in the break down lane before the driver lost control, causing the car to veer onto the dirt verge.
The woman over-corrected the vehicle, deflating the front, off-side tyre.
The woman continued driving the vehicle at high speed towards the Kiama bends, where she again lost control of the car, crashing it into the median concrete barrier and destroying the front off-side panel and metal wheel rim.
The vehicle continued another 500m before the woman brought it to a halt in the emergency lane.
Witnesses immediately used their own vehicle to block the car in and prevent the woman from driving off.
Police arrived at the scene a short time later, removed the uninjured child from the car and arrested the woman, who they said was unsteady on her feet, had bloodshot, watery eyes and was dressed only in a bikini at the time.
Officers subsequently discovered empty bottles of alcohol scattered throughout the car.
In court on Tuesday, the woman’s lawyer told the court her client had unexpectedly run into her sexually abusive father at Ulladulla that day, pre-empting her meltdown.
She said the woman had made positive changes in her life since the incident and was remorseful.
Magistrate Robert Walker handed the woman a 12-month suspended prison sentence on account of her limited criminal record and extenuating personal circumstances.
“I accept you panicked and did something stupid,” he said.