Drunk nurse flees on wrong side of road after crash
A Coast mother who crashed into a traffic light and drove away from witnesses on the wrong side of the road while high-range drink driving has been "condemned" for her actions.
Anita Gaye Smith pleaded guilty in Caloundra Magistrates Court on Tuesday to driving under the influence of liquor on November 1.
Police prosecutor Mark Burrell told the court Smith blew a blood alcohol reading of 0.215 after she was involved in a single-vehicle car crash.
"The defendant's car was crashed into a traffic light at the intersection of George and Queen St, Moffat Beach," he said.
"Witnesses … concerned for the defendant's welfare attended the vehicle and attempted to prevent her from continuing to drive.
"Unfortunately, she became combative with witnesses and drove away on the wrong side of the road."
Senior Constable Burrell said Smith was unsteady on her feet, smelt of alcohol and had glassy eyes when police found her at her home.
She admitted to drinking three glasses of wine at Caloundra's Drift Bar prior to driving.
Sen-Const Burrell said given the circumstances, a disqualification period longer than the minimum six-month period was appropriate.
Smith had no criminal or like offending history and references tendered in court stated the incident was out of character.
Solicitor Elizabeth Davey said the 47-year-old mental health clinician had little memory of the incident and was embarrassed by her actions.
"She is incredibly embarrassed and remorseful for her actions," she said.
"She is not sure why she made the decision to drive and accepts that it is completely irresponsible and life engendering.
"She has seen first-hand the devastation caused by drink driving and is upset at herself for doing that."
The court heard Smith had experienced some severe trauma and was diagnosed with depression and stress.
Ms Davey said the mother had completed the Queensland Traffic Offenders Program and sought help to manage her mental health, reducing her risk of reoffending.
Ms Davey asked Magistrate Stephanie Tonkin to impose a disqualification period close to the minimum period and asked for no conviction to be recorded.
The court heard without a licence Smith had lost one of her two incomes and was forced to reduce her hours at her other job.
Ms Davey said Smith, who will need to pay between $8000 and $10,000 to fix her two-month-old car, had no family support in Queensland.
She said a disqualification period would have an "ongoing impact" on Smith and her son.
"She will have to bear the financial burden of taxis for many months which will place a significant strain on her financially as she has now lost one of her two sources of income," Ms Davey said.
Smith's financial situation was worsened by the holiday closure of her workplace which would force her to rely on savings for two months.
Magistrate Tonkin said drink driving was "extremely serious" and it was only good fortune, not good management, that the crash didn't involve any other road users.
"It doesn't just affect the person who might be injured in an accident, it affects (the) entire community and families in a terrible way and the behaviour needs to be condemned," she said.
Given the significant losses already impacting Smith, Ms Tonkin decided to impose the minimum disqualification period.
She was disqualified from driving for six months and was fined $1000.
No conviction was recorded.