King’s Lynn drink driver swerved to avoid cat and ploughed into six cars
17:38 30 April 2014
© Archant Norfolk 2014
A drink driver smashed into half a dozen parked cars after swerving to avoid a cat, a court heard.
Holly Baker, of Dairy Way, Gaywood, had been enjoying glasses of wine with a friend before she got behind the wheel, King’s Lynn Magistrates’ Court heard yesterday.
Prosecutor Philip Charnley said the 27-year-old was sitting on a wall when police arrived at the crash scene in Tennyson Avenue, near the College of West Anglia.
He said officers, who were called at around 10.30pm on April 15, found Baker’s Renault Clio had “extensive front end damage”.
She told officers she was the driver of the Clio and claimed a cat had run out in front of her, added Mr Charnley.
He said officers were not happy with this explanation, and a breath test found her to be more than double the drink drive limit.
Baker had 85mcg of alcohol in 100ml of breath, and the legal limit is 35mcg.
“She said she had been having a glass of wine when she got back from work,” said Mr Charnley. “She thought she would be fine to drive.
“The officer pointed out that six cars in the road were damaged, and she admitted she had been responsible for that.”
Charlotte Winchester, mitigating, said: “On this particular evening she drank some wine.
“She has been stressed with a possible restructure at work and has had financial problems since her lodger moved out.
“She’s extremely sorry for what happened.
“She’s fully aware of the consequences of what happened and is sorry for the damage to the other vehicles.”
She added the incident was “out of character” for Baker, who she said had a troubled life in her early 20s but overcame this and got a degree.
Ms Winchester said Baker believed she had a valid driving licence and had bought insurance.
She first got a licence in 2003, but it was revoked in 2007 on medical grounds and had to be reviewed annually.
Ms Winchester said Baker believed a “mix-up” in 2011 had been resolved, but it had not been.
Baker pleaded guilty to drink driving, and driving without a licence or insurance.
Jean Terrington, chairman of the bench, told Baker: “What made it more serious was an accident was caused and six cars were damaged.”
She handed Baker a 20-month driving ban, £360 fine and £121 costs.
Speaking at the time of the incident, neighbours said
vehicles in the street were missing bumpers and lights, while there was debris scattered around the scene.
Donna Yates, who lives opposite, said: “I heard two or three different bangs, it was a hell of a bang.
“I know of one of the cars was towed away, it was a wreck.”
Christine Smith, whose Ford Mondeo was badly damaged in the incident, said she feared it was a write-off.
Ms Smith, who is a district nurse, had to arrange alternative transport for the day.
A male neighbour who did not want to be named said his SAAB was written off.
Faye Short, whose Peugot was pushed into another car by the impact, said: “The force of it pushed cars into each other and up the kerb, she must have been doing some speed.
“What has upset us is that we all have to claim off each other’s insurance as it’s our cars that have gone into each other’s.”