Belfast Telegraph

Woman banned from roads after drunken 13-mile driving rampage

By Nevin Farrell

Drivers on a Co Antrim road were forced to take emergency action after a woman careered along a coastal road in what a judge described as one of the worst ever cases before his court.

Donna Louise Samways (40), with an address in Larne, has been banned from the roads after she admitted to a 13-mile driving rampage while unfit to drive.

It saw her car career across a road, nearly striking a ditch before crossing the white line several times towards oncoming traffic.

District Judge Peter King said it was one of the worst ever cases before his court.

A prosecutor told Ballymena Magistrates Court yesterday that almost every car and lorry coming the opposite way had to "move out of the way".

One vehicle was forced to perform an emergency stop during the incident on January 2 this year.

Police received a report that a car was suspected of being driven by an unfit driver around 4.50pm.

When they went to an address in Larne the car was parked nearby, and Samways was asleep in a bedroom.

Her description matched that given to police and she smelt of alcohol.

The defendant failed to provide a specimen of breath for analysis. She was previously convicted in her absence on charges of driving whilst unfit; failing to provide a specimen; absence of insurance and driving without due care and attention.

A defence lawyer said Samways, present in court yesterday, was pleading guilty to the charges and had a "deep sense of remorse".

The lawyer said as a result of "ongoing attacks" on Samways' son, on January 2 the defendant had "thrown her head up and made the awful decision to drive a car and try and get away".

Judge King said the defendant was very fortunate not to be facing dangerous driving charges.

The defence lawyer agreed and added that Samways had been "very lucky there wasn't an accident".

The judge told the defendant: "We could have been dealing with death or serious injuries, not only to yourself, but other road users.

"A number of cars had to make emergency manoeuvres to avoid you coming towards them.

"This is as bad a case of driving whilst unfit as this court is going to deal with."

The judge said Samways had a record but he took into account her guilty plea and "a degree of contrition" as he banned the defendant from the road for two and a half years and fined her £550.

Belfast Telegraph


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