SLOW LEARNER: Drink driver jailed after ninth charge

 

A repeat drink driver woke up after a heavy night drinking, took a shot of vodka and got behind the wheel.

The 51-year-old mother of two drove more than an hour from Mackay to Lethebrook, near Proserpine before falling asleep at 100km/h.

As her car crossed the centre-line and into oncoming traffic, she woke up and lost control of the vehicle, which spun out of control and crashed into a drain on the road's embankment.

Bronwyn Kathleen Joy Sheppard, 51, faced the Townsville Magistrates court last week where she pleaded guilty to dangerous operation of a vehicle while adversely affected by an intoxicating substance and driving under the influence of liquor on August 7, this year.

It is the ninth time she has faced court for similar offending and has even been sentenced to jail time, wholly suspended in the past.

Police prosecutor Subarna Raut said Sheppard had been driving north on the Bruce Highway about 12.30pm when her dangerous driving put other road users at risk.

Mr Raut said it was by chance that her car missed oncoming traffic as it spun across the highway.

Bronwyn Kathleen Joy Sheppard faced the Townsville Magistrates court, where she pleaded guilty to dangerous operation of a vehicle while adversely affected by an intoxicating substance and driving under the influence of liquor on August 7, this year. The Townsville mother crashed her car along the Bruce Highway after taking a shot before driving and falling asleep at the vehicle.
Bronwyn Kathleen Joy Sheppard faced the Townsville Magistrates court, where she pleaded guilty to dangerous operation of a vehicle while adversely affected by an intoxicating substance and driving under the influence of liquor on August 7, this year. The Townsville mother crashed her car along the Bruce Highway after taking a shot before driving and falling asleep at the vehicle.

Before she crashed, other motorists reported seeing Sheppard overtaking, driving over the speed limit and crossing onto the wrong side of the road.

Sheppard told officers she drank "heaps" of vodka the night before and that she had indulged in another shot after waking up to drive north.

She returned a positive breath test of 0.192 BAC, almost four times the legal limit.

Mr Raut said though Sheppard had no criminal history, her traffic history could be described as "appalling".

"It is simply sheer stupidity and foolishness," Mr Raut said.

"She posed a serious danger to other members of the community."

Defence lawyer Jacob Torney said his client had been battling alcoholism since the 90s.

He said she relapsed and fell into old habits the night before the crash.

Mr Torney said she was raised in a strict Seventh Day Adventist community and married a church leader. When their marriage broke down Sheppard turned to alcohol.

Magistrate Viviana Keegan said Sheppard's actions showed a "complete disregard" for the safety of others.

In sentencing she said she took into account her driving history and the severity of the charge.

Sheppard was sentenced to a head sentence of 12 months jail, with a parole release date in January.

She was disqualified from driving for a year.

Sheppard has launched an appeal against her sentence.

Originally published as SLOW LEARNER: Drink driver jailed after ninth charge


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