Sobbing drink drive mum avoids jail after crash with 7-year-old in her car

Sadie Smith's drunk driving in Flintshire caught on camera

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Sadie Smith, 47, was caught on dashcam footage driving so erratically she ploughed over a roundabout and into a grass verge. A court heard it was “nothing short of sheer luck” Smith didn’t cause an accident after she left her home on the Wirral, Merseyside, and headed some 20 miles into Flint, north Wales.

The mum cried as the footage was played in court yesterday. It showed her nearly collide her red Saab with a road sign at the roundabout.

Sentencing at Wrexham Magistrates’ Court, 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.”

Smith, a single mum, had been drinking the night before the journey and had some more alcohol in the hours before she set off on March 19, North Wales Live reports.

Helen Tench, prosecuting, said a member of the public called police at about midday when they saw a Saab Index being driven “erratically” in Flintshire, north Wales.

After she mounted the grass verge at the roundabout, Smith was arrested. The mother of one was found at the McDonald’s restaurant on the Flint Retail Park “stumbling around the drive-thru” 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.

Stephen Edwards, defending, said that this had been “a real wake up call” for his client.

Smith, from Meols, Merseyside, had been using alcohol “as a crutch” to deal with issues that have been ongoing in her life now “for a number of years”, the court was told.

Mr Edwards told the court Smith 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 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 that Smith has “found it difficult to ask for help” but is now seeking support within her community through. The court also heard how the criminal charge led to Smith losing her 23-year career.

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