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Drink-driving mother jailed for overturning car with toddler in back

A drink-driving mother who smashed into a concrete roundabout island and launched her car 14ft into the air while her toddler was in the back has been jailed.

Tania Chikwature, 32, was more than three times the drink-drive limit when she lost control of her Nissan Qashqai as she drove to a wake, Peterborough Magistrates' Court heard on Monday.

The defendant drank vodka the night before and a vodka bottle was found in the car, said Corinne Soanders-Silk, prosecuting.

A lorry driver who witnessed the crash said he did not think those in the car would survive it, and that the car cleared the roundabout and hit a tree before landing on its roof.

Chikwature's 20-month-old son was unhurt in the crash which was captured on dashcam footage as she illegally overtook a lorry on the approach to a roundabout on the A606 in Peterborough.

The defendant sustained unspecified injuries.

Chikwature, of Butterfly Way in Coventry, admitted drink-driving and dangerous driving at an earlier hearing.

District judge Ken Sheraton jailed her for 26 weeks and ordered a three-year driving ban.

He told the defendant: "It's only by luck and certainly by no judgment of yours that you're not here today facing far more serious charges, and you're fortunate that somebody didn't die in that accident."

Ms Soanders-Silk said the defendant was seen overtaking an HGV on the wrong side of solid white lines.

Lorry driver Richard Jones said, in a written statement, that he saw the car approaching "at speed" in his mirrors and had to brake to allow the car to complete the overtake manoeuvre.

"The car seemed out of control and from the speed it came past me I knew it wasn't making the roundabout," he said.

"I saw it veer right and mount the concrete roundabout.

"I remember thinking as it launched into the air, 'they're not going to make it'."

He said the car went 14ft in the air.

"It cleared the roundabout, hitting a tree as it flew over it," he said. "I could see utter devastation."

The toddler was freed from the vehicle by a passing motorist, and Chikwature was freed by firefighters.

Ms Soanders-Silk said that, apart from being shocked, the toddler "thankfully was unhurt".

She said the defendant refused to provide police with a breath sample at the scene, but agreed to give a blood sample four hours later in hospital.

Police, using a back calculation, found she had 246 mg of alcohol per 100 ml of blood at the time of the incident. The legal limit is 80 mg of alcohol per 100 ml of blood.

"She said she had been drinking vodka from 9pm to 1am the night before," said Ms Soanders-Silk.

"She said she didn't feel drunk."

Chikwature, a married stay-at-home mother, denied she had an alcohol problem.

"She did state 'I could have killed my son'," said Ms Soanders-Silk.

The incident happened on the A606 in Peterborough at around 11.40am on December 12.

Sarah Dunne, mitigating, said Chikwature was remorseful and of previous good character.

Chikwature was jailed for 26 weeks for dangerous driving and 12 weeks for drink-driving, to be served concurrently.

She was banned from driving for three years and ordered to pay £115 costs.

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