Woman be­hind bars af­ter near tragedy at school

Whitsunday Times - - LOCAL NEWS -

A 47-YEAR-OLD Proser­pine woman who crashed her car out­side the lo­cal pri­mary school af­ter she’d been drink­ing, will have the next two months be­hind bars to re­flect about the fact that some­one could have been se­ri­ously hurt or killed.

Heather Jane Fo­ley-Lewis was in tears through­out much of Mon­day’s ap­pear­ance at the Proser­pine Mag­is­trate’s Court where the cir­cum­stances of this and other of­fences of fail­ing to pro­vide spec­i­mens of breath and blood, as­sault­ing a po­lice of­fi­cer and breaching bail were heard.

At 3pm on De­cem­ber 8, just af­ter school had fin­ished for the day, Fo­ley Lewis reversed her car at speed out of her drive­way in front of the school.

Po­lice pros­e­cu­tor El­iz­a­beth Smith said she ac­cel­er­ated heav­ily, trav­el­ling to the op­po­site side of the road and crash­ing into a parked black Suburu, which in turn crashed into an­other car.

Ms Smith said Fo­ley-Lewis left the scene on foot and went back to her house where she was found by po­lice.

Po­lice asked her to pro­vide a breath spec­i­men but she re­fused.

Ms Smith said dur­ing her ar­rest, Fo­leyLewis slapped a po­lice of­fi­cer in the process of tak­ing her to the hos­pi­tal where she also re­fused to give blood.

The court heard she was even­tu­ally re­leased on bail with con­di­tions about not con­sum­ing al­co­hol at­tached.

Th­ese were breached twice with the sec­ond breach in­volv­ing an al­co­hol read­ing of 0.303.

Ms Smith said while Fo­ley-Lewis had no crim­i­nal his­tory, she did have a his­tory of drink-driv­ing and “con­cern­ingly then her read­ings have in­creased”.

She also pointed to the fact this lat­est driv­ing episode took place in a street where chil­dren were com­ing out of school.

De­fence solic­i­tor John Wil­son ten­dered a num­ber of ref­er­ences as well as med­i­cal ma­te­rial and penal­ties from com­par­a­tive cases.

Fo­ley-Lewis was sob­bing au­di­bly as she told the court she had de­cided to move her car but for some rea­son it lurched and she had no idea what hap­pened next.

“It may be the case she’s at­tempted to put her foot on the brake and put her foot on the ac­cel­er­a­tor in­stead,” Mr Wil­son said.

Mr Wil­son sub­mit­ted Fo­ley-Lewis had been self-med­i­cat­ing with al­co­hol for a num­ber of is­sues which, while not an ex­cuse, gave some con­text to her ac­tions.

Mag­is­trate Ron Muir­head said Fo­leyLewis had put school chil­dren at risk and could have been fac­ing a far more se­ri­ous charge.

“[And] you’re not a young per­son – you’re 47 years of age and cer­tainly of an age where you should have known bet­ter,” he said.

Fo­ley-Lewis was sen­tenced to a to­tal of nine months im­pris­on­ment with a pa­role re­lease date of May 22, 2015. She was also dis­qual­i­fied from driv­ing for three years.

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