A mum drove her seven-year-old son to the beach while four times over the drink drive limit.
Sadie Smith, 47, of Centurion Drive in Meols, Wirral, was caught on dashcam footage driving so erratically she plowed over a roundabout and into a grass verge. Wrexham Magistrates court heard it was “nothing short of sheer luck” that she didn’t cause a serious accident.
Smith cried as her family sat beside her while the court was shown footage of her almost colliding with a road sign on the A548 in Flintshire in March, with her son, aged seven, in the car with her. Prosecutor Helen Tench said Smith had been drinking the night before and had some alcohol in the hours before she set off to find a North Wales beach, NorthWalesLive reports.
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A concerned driver called police at about midday on March 19 when they saw a Saab Index being driven “erratically” in Flintshire. Smith was arrested after being found at the McDonald’s restaurant on the Flint Retail Park “stumbling around the drive through” and “slurring her words”.
When she was caught, she gave a breath reading of 139. The legal alcohol limit is 35 micrograms of alcohol per 100 millilitres of breath.
The court was shown some dashcam footage of the mum-of-one swerving across roads before she ended up on the grass verge of a roundabout. She then drove off along the A548 in the direction of Flint.
Stephen Edwards, defending, said that this was “a real wake up call” for his client. She was using alcohol “as a crutch” to deal with issues that were ongoing in her life now “for a number of years”, he added.
Smith, he told the court, had felt the pressures of being a single mum during the Covid-19 pandemic, balancing the sudden need to work from home as well as educate her young son. This, combined with other factors, led to her “hitting the bottle”.
Tracey Flavell, from the probation service, said that Smith “clearly” wasn’t thinking about the consequences of her actions that day. She accepted that, “in trying to do something nice for her son”, she was in fact “putting lives at risk”.
She said Smith has “found it difficult to ask for help” but is now seeking support. The court also heard how the criminal charge led to Smith losing her 23-year career.
Presiding Justice Jacqui Jones, branded Smith’s actions as “dangerous” and banned her from driving for the next 36 months. She was also told – as part of her 12-month community order – to complete unpaid work for 300 hours.
She said: “It was nothing short of sheer luck that you didn’t cause a fatality when driving over 30 miles in a very dangerous and erratic manner with your seven-year-old son in the car. That footage played today no doubt shocked you, your family and us – the magistrates.
“You could have been going to prison today but you have made significant attempts off your own back to address your issues with alcohol. We think you’ll make those changes last and not be back before these courts again.”