Drunk drivers lucky to avoid serious injury or death | The Courier

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A magistrate says two drunk drivers who caused significant damage to their vehicles in separate crashes were lucky they did not severely injure or kill themselves or other road users. The two woman appeared at the Ballarat Magistrates’ Court in two separate court cases on Monday and pleaded guilty to their offending. Naomi Elise Smith, 42, appeared at court via video link from a drug rehabilitation facility and admitted to what the magistrate described as a ‘serious example of public endangerment’. The court heard police were called to a single vehicle collision on Colac-Ballarat Road in Dereel on February 28, 2021. Witnesses had seen Smith driving erratically, veering onto the wrong side of the road before veering back and hitting trees almost six metres off the side of the road. Smith was taken to hospital for treatment for minor injuries and the car she was driving was damaged extensively and towed away. The court heard Smith’s blood alcohol concentration reading was 0.165 and she had cannabis in her system. Smith said she could not remember the collision happening. Representing herself, Smith said she had a drug and alcohol problem last year that she was not able to deal with herself, so she was now in a four-month in-house rehabilitation program. She said she should not have driven, she was living at Rokewood at the time, her car was written off and she lost her job because she did not have a licence. Magistrate Ron Saines said Smith’s driving endangered other people on the road, including possible pedestrians. “I know that roadway well and it is not a quiet road by any means,” he said. “It was just a matter of luck as to whether you finished up killing yourself or someone else. “The courts deal with a very large number of cases all the time where people finish up with brain injuries, spinal injuries, without mobility, without cognitive brain function, all of these consequences caused by road accidents. “I want to remind you had you been a little less lucky you may be facing a term of imprisonment that would be measured in years today. “You are indeed very lucky you have appeared to escape with minor injury and no one else being involved.” Smith was convicted and fined $1200 and disqualified from driving for 22 months, starting June 2021. In a separate case, a woman, who The Courier has chosen not to name because she avoided a conviction, crashed her car while driving drunk on Greenhalghs Road in Delacombe in April 2021. She had collided with the gutter and blew a blood alcohol concentration reading of 0.105. Her car had to be towed from the scene. Mr Saines said the woman had not made an error of judgement to drive as she was clearly over the blood alcohol limit. “You had to consume enough alcohol to get to a reading that was twice the legal limit,” he said. “This was a decision to drive when you ought to have well known when you were in excess of the legal limit.” The woman was disqualified from driving for 10-months and she was fined $1000 without conviction. If you are seeing this message you are a loyal digital subscriber to The Courier, as we made this story available only to subscribers. Thank you very much for your support and allowing us to continue telling Ballarat’s story. We appreciate your support of journalism in our great city.


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