Onlookers feared drink-driver had suffered a heart attack, court hears

A mother of two’s drink driving was so erratic that onlookers feared she had suffered a stroke or heart attack, a court heard.

Laura Saunders, of Chromate Lane, Lerwick, was fined £800 and disqualified for three years after admitting driving dangerously and while unfit through drink or drugs.

Lerwick Sheriff Court heard on Wednesday that Saunders’ driving first attracted attention at around noon on 3rd September when she cut across a car to exit the Tesco roundabout onto South Road.

Procurator fiscal Duncan MacKenzie said the 38-year-old was seen repeatedly weaving back and forth across the carriageway while also mounting the pavement.

Mr MacKenzie said: “Others were so concerned by her driving that they thought the accused might have had a stroke or a heart attack.

“They were very concerned for her safety and the safety of other road users.”

Drivers followed her into town as she continued veering across the carriageway and mounting the pavement along Scalloway Road and into Hillhead.

By this time, Mr MacKenzie said her front nearside tyre had burst. But she continued driving towards her home near Church Road, where there was an empty parking space.

Mr MacKenzie said two council workers were outside their vehicle beside the parking space when they heard the “metallic screeching” of Saunders’ damaged car approaching.

The court heard how Saunders crashed into the front of their vehicle before trying to turn into the parking space, only to miss it and drive straight into a parked car instead.

“That brought her to a temporary halt,” said Mr MacKensize. “One of the council workers raced across the road shouting at her to stop.”

Instead, Mr MacKenzie said Saunders crashed into the same car again, pushing it further forward.

The fiscal said the council worker continued shouting at her to stop, as she reversed back into the road.

Eventually managing to park, Saunders then left the car only to enter the wrong address, before realising, leaving and finally making it home.

When police arrived, Mr MacKenzie said Saunders was “clearly very intoxicated” and there was a “strong smell of alcohol on her”.

“There seemed to be an unacknowledged issue with alcohol on her part,” he added.

Defence agent Tommy Allan said his client’s medication had recently been changed, which “was having a severe effect on her decision-making”.

“So to some extent she was not fully responsible for this,” he said.

Mr Allan acknowledged Saunders bore some responsibility “to the extent that alcohol was taken and she did get into the car”.

He said her personal issues were being dealt with “to a fairly serious level”.

Having had previous convictions, Mr Allan said his client recognised she would not be driving again for three years, which was “no small price” to pay as it would affect her job as a carer and her role as mother to two young children.

Sheriff Ian Cruickshank fined Saunders £800, plus a £40 victim surcharge, and disqualified her from driving for three years.


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