Drug user keeps driving licence after crash injures two women

PUBLISHED: 16:00 01 October 2015

Archant

A drug-user, who seriously injured two motorists when she lost control on a dual carriageway near Exmouth, veering onto the wrong side of the road, has kept her driving licence.

Susan Walker, 55, had cocaine and amphetamines in her body when she caused the ‘horrific’ crash on the A379, just yards from the fire service headquarters at Clyst St George.

She was driving back to Exeter in the dark when she crossed the unguarded central reservation and crashed her Mitsubishi into the side of a car heading in the opposite direction.

Friends Dorothy Ferrier and Jennifer Pride, both in their 60s, were heading to their homes in East Devon when they suffered life-changing injuries - leaving them in pain 20 months later.

Mrs Ferrier suffered two broken legs, a broken arm, concussion and spent seven weeks in hospital. Mrs Pride suffered a broken shoulder, serious back injuries and extensive bruising.

Walker, who was working as a care supervisor at the time, but is now a cleaner, also suffered back injuries in the accident.

She was found with cocaine and amphetamines in her system when samples were taken in hospital, but Exeter Crown Court was told there was no evidence her drug use caused the accident.

Walker, of Blackthorn Crescent, Exeter, admitted careless driving and possession of amphetamines and was fined £350 with £35 costs by Judge Francis Gilbert, QC, at Exeter Crown Court.

She received six points on her licence, but was not disqualified. More serious charges of causing serious injury by dangerous driving and driving while unfit through drugs were dropped.

Judge Gilbert told her it was a very serious act of careless driving. He said Walker struck the women travelling in the opposite direction, crossing the central reservation, after she became ‘confused’.

The judge said: “I ignore the fact you may have had drugs in your body as a cause of the accident because of the evidence that at most it was a possibility rather than a probability.”

Mr Tom Bradnock, prosecuting, said an expert report concluded it was impossible to say when Walker had taken the drugs or whether they would have had any effect on her driving at the time of the accident.

Mr Mark Kelly, defending, said Walker had also been traumatised by her injuries, which forced her to give up her job.

He said it was dark and raining at the time of the accident and this had caused her to become disorientated.

He said Walker needed her driving licence to get to her new job as a cleaner and to look after her disabled grown-up son.

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