Woman trapped in car for two hours after being hit by drink driver


A woman who was left trapped in her car for two hours after being hit head-on by a drink driver said her life has been changed forever.

Rachel Hawley Picture: JANE HUNT

Rachel Hawley Picture: JANE HUNT - Credit: JANE HUNT

Rachel Hawley, 49, was travelling from her home near Norwich to Southwold on the A1095 when she was struck by Alexander Aitchison's BMW.

Ipswich Crown Court heard how Aitchison, who has a previous drink driving conviction, was travelling on the wrong side of the road at the time.

Mrs Hawley screamed and heard a bang before blacking out and coming round to find herself trapped in her car in a field.

It took the fire service two hours to cut her free during which she was in severe pain and drifted in and out of consciousness.

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Shortly before the crash on February 15, Aitchison was seen to overtake a line of six cars.

When the 33-year-old was breathalysed he was found to have 104 milligrams of alcohol in 106 millilitres of blood - the legal limit is 80 milligrammes.

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After the crash he was heard to say 'I shouldn't be driving' and alcohol was smelled on his breath.

He was jailed yesterday for 12 months after pleading guilty to dangerous driving and drinking driving.

In a victim impact statement, Mrs Hawley said she could not forgive Aitchison for what he had done.

Although she did not suffer any fractures she suffered extensive soft tissue damage and swelling resulting in ongoing pain.

She also suffered flashbacks in the weeks following the collision and it was weeks before she could face getting back in her car.

She received counselling and the collision had also deeply affected her family.

Mrs Hawley had been driving a Mercedes estate at the time and had been on her way to Southwold to go shopping when she was hit at about 1.45pm.

Her husband Keith Saunt was in a meeting in Norwich when he received a call from a man on his wife's phone telling him she had been in an accident.

'He said she was trapped in her car in a field and he was holding her hand,' said Mr Saunt.

The couple were shocked to hear that Aitchison had a previous conviction for drink driving.

'Perhaps this will be a wake up call for him,' said the couple.

Aitchison, of Monewden Hall, Monewden, was and banned from driving for four years and six months. He was also ordered to pay £1,000 costs.

The court heard he had a previous conviction for drink driving in 2008.

Sentencing him, Judge John Devaux said there had been 'prolonged bad driving' before the collision.

He acknowledged Aitchison suffered serious leg injuries in the collision and an immediate prison sentence might result in a delay to planned surgery.

Karim Khalil QC for Aitchison said he had been severely affected by the accident and felt genuine anguish for what happened to Mrs Hawley.

Aitchison had been working in his role as a taster on the day in question and had driven without thinking after getting a call to go home.

As a result of the collision Aitchison suffered serious injuries resulting in rods an external fixator being attached to his leg.

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