Belfast Telegraph

Mum-of-five went on drunken rampage across Belfast in lorry

By Paul Higgins

A mother who went on a drink-driving rampage in a 14.5-tonne lorry has been jailed for 27 months and banned from driving for three years.

Susan McKay (41), who has five children, drove at up to 60mph in a built-up 30mph zone, crashed into six cars, twice drove on the wrong side of the road, ran through a red light, caused pedestrians to run for their lives and ended up crashing into a telegraph pole, Belfast Crown Court heard.

McKay, who can barely remember what happened, was pulled from the cab of the lorry by members of the public.

She later pleaded guilty to drink-driving and dangerous driving on consecutive roads between her home in Sugarfield Street off the Shankill Road in west Belfast and the Albertbridge Road in the east of the city.

At one stage witnesses told police they saw steam from the lorry's engine and that despite stalling a number of times, McKay restarted the engine and ploughed on, rear-ending one car, and was seen “swerving all over the place”.

Jailing McKay, Judge Patrick Lynch QC told her she was fortunate indeed that no-one was killed or injured during the incident on November 14, 2010, warning her had that happened she would have faced a 10-year term.

As it was, said the judge, the incident represented “about as bad a piece of dangerous driving as I have ever seen,” especially as McKay was more than twice over the legal drink-drive limit.

Defence lawyer Richard McConkey had urged the judge not to jail McKay, who owned the lorry, as to do so would cause hardship to her husband and five children.

However, Judge Lynch said he was less than impressed with the attitude McKay had adopted to the offences. He revealed probation assessed her as having a high likelihood of reoffending as there is a “limited acceptance of responsibility” and an “entrenched attitude” to her alcoholism and drinking.

“What I believe is that you find yourself in this position and feel sorry for yourself,” said the judge.

He added that while he had “no doubt” a jail term would have consequences for her family, “the court has to balance that against the offences and the outrage the public rightly have against drink-driving and driving in the appalling manner that you did”.

In handing down the 27-month jail term and three-year driving ban, Judge Lynch ordered McKay to spend nine months in custody to be followed by 18 months on supervised licence parole.

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