UEA student crashed dad’s sports car four times over drink drive limit

Dozens of motorists have been caught in the drink/drug drive campaign.

Dozens of motorists have been caught in the drink/drug drive campaign. - Credit: Archant © 2007

A UEA student crashed her father's sports car into a concrete bollard outside a convenience store while almost four times the legal alcohol limit.

Megan Russell was found attempting to start the damaged Mercedes-Benz SLK 250 in the car park of Premier Stores in Barrow, near Bury St Edmunds, at about noon on December 12.

The 21-year-old, who is studying for an education degree at the University of East Anglia in Norwich, appeared in custody via video link at Suffolk Magistrates' Court the following morning.

She pleaded guilty to driving a motor vehicle with 131 microgrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath - the legal limit being 35mcg.

Prosecutor Lesla Small said another motorist called police after hearing a loud bang and seeing a Mercedes enter the car park with a damaged front bumper.

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An officer arrived to find Russell intoxicated and attempting to start the ignition of a vehicle she was uninsured to drive.

The degree student, who lives at Simpson Way in Barrow but studies in Norwich, answered with no comment to questions asked during a police interview.

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The court heard that she had a previously clean criminal record and driving licence before being convicted of drink-driving on Friday.

Jeremy Kendall, mitigating, asked magistrates to adjourn the hearing to allow for the preparation of a pre-sentence report by the probation service.

He said Russell had returned early from university for the Christmas period to dog-sit while her parents were away from home.

"She recalls drinking on Wednesday but doesn't recall a lot of what happened," he added. "She accepts driving the short distance from home in her parents' car."

Magistrates granted Russell unconditional bail to return to the same court for sentencing on January 10.

In the meantime, she will be subject to an interim driving disqualification.

Russell was among more than 50 people to have been arrested since the launch of Suffolk Constabulary's annual Christmas drink and drug-driving campaign.

Her evidential breathalyser reading is understood to have been the highest recorded since the month-long campaign began on December 1.

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