Witness yanks keys from ignition after woman’s drunken crash
A WITNESS rushed over and removed the keys from the ignition of a Strathdickie woman's car after she drunkenly crashed into a pole and then tried to keep driving.
Lynda Anne Durant spent a night in police custody after appearing in court as Magistrate James Morton decided her fate.
Police prosecutor Sergeant Emma Myors told Proserpine Magistrates Court police came across the woman after they were called to a crash at Strathdickie in June.
Sgt Myors said a witness told police Durant swerving across the road and had crossed across both lanes, then swerved and hit a pole.
The court heard Durant then drove back onto the road before stopping again, so the witness ran over and pulled her keys from the ignition.
When police arrived, Durant was speaking to paramedics but she appeared to be "grossly intoxicated", smelt of alcohol and was struggling to stay upright in the drivers' seat, Sgt Myors said.
The court heard Durant refused to do a breath test and then had to be physically removed from her vehicle.
She refused to walk and was carried to the police car, shouting "black lives matter".
Sgt Myors said the 43-year-old mother of four also refused to do a breath test back at the Whitsunday Police Station in Cannonvale and when an officer tried to help her remove a ring from her finger, she slapped them on the arm.
"This is a serious example of a person endangering the lives of other road users and then seriously obstructing police," Sgt Myors said.
Durant pleaded guilty to four charges in court last week, including two counts of failing to provide a specimen of breath and assaulting police.
Duty lawyer Elizabeth Smith appeared for Durant, saying she had recognised she had a problem with alcohol.
Ms Smith said Durant's husband had died of alcohol-related issues a few years ago and while she had some criminal history, she had kept herself out of trouble for the past couple of years.
The court heard Durant broke her leg in May and could not work, which had a "domino effect" of affecting her mental health and prompting her to drink.
Ms Smith said she had been receiving support from Lives Lived Well for alcoholism and mental health issues.
Mr Morton told Durant he was considering sending her to jail, so he remanded her in custody and she appeared in Bowen Magistrates Court via video the next day.
During sentencing in the Bowen court, Mr Morton said Durant had showed disregard for herself and other road users.
"This is a very serious traffic matter that could have had dire consequences," he said.
"You could have taken someone's life going about their daily duties."
Durant was ordered to serve 15 months' probation, with the condition that she must not consume alcohol.
She was also fined $200 and disqualified from driving for 15 months with convictions recorded.
"It's time for you to get off the bottle because you're going to do yourself in," Mr Morton said.