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Drink-driver crashed after travelling less than half a mile to buy alcohol

PUBLISHED: 16:38 06 March 2019 | UPDATED: 16:39 06 March 2019

The crash happened at the back of a service station in Darsham, near Saxmundham  Picture: GOOGLE

The crash happened at the back of a service station in Darsham, near Saxmundham Picture: GOOGLE

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A drink-driver who crashed into a building after stocking up on alcohol at her local shop has been banned from the road for two years.

Christine Hills chose to drive less than half a mile from home to the Budgens store at Darsham Service Station on January 15.

The 34-year-old returned to her Kia Carens and reversed into a Mercedes Vito van, before driving behind the building, crashing through a fence and colliding with the wall of a neighbouring café at about 7.45pm.

Suffolk Magistrates’ Court heard how onlookers went to the driver’s aid and urged her to stay at the scene until the arrival of emergency services.

Instead, said prosecutor Wayne Ablett, Hills opted to return along Main Road to her home address, where police later responded to an unrelated matter and established the supermarket cashier’s connection to the crash.

A breathalyser test taken two hours after the collision returned a reading of 94 microgrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath the legal limit being 35mcg.

Mr Ablett said the total cost of damage caused by the crash was thought to be about £7,000.

Sentencing had been adjourned for a probation report after Hills admitted drink-driving and failing to stop after an accident on February 2.

Natasha Nair, mitigating, said Hills had been using alcohol as a coping mechanism for a series of difficult personal circumstances.

“She had been drinking and wanted more,” she added.

“She accepts she should have walked less than half a mile to the garage.

“She makes no excuses for her behaviour, and expresses genuine remorse and shame.

“This incident appears entirely out of character for a woman with no previous convictions.

“She has been open, honest, and has taken steps to address her behaviour.”

Hills was said to have since completely abstained from alcohol and was receiving community outreach support.

Magistrates handed her an 18-month community order, including 30 days of rehabilitation activity requirement.

She was banned from driving for 24 months and ordered to pay £85 towards prosecution costs and an £85 statutory fee towards victim services.

Her licence will also be endorsed for failing to stop after an accident.

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