Drink-driver caused severe harm in crash

A Feilding mother has caused emotional, physical and financial harm to adults and children, after causing a three-car crash while driving to the aid of her drug-addicted son.

Sonia Allan, 41, cried in the dock in the Palmerston North District Court yesterday as she was sentenced on two counts of causing injury while driving with excess blood alcohol.

On January 17 this year, Allan was at her home in Feilding and drank some vodka.

She got a call from her son in Palmerston North, and got in her car to get to him.

Her car crossed the centre line on Campbell Rd, Feilding, hitting a car travelling in the opposite direction in which two adults and three children were travelling.

Allan's car then hit a second car, driven by a woman, which spun and flipped before ending up in a ditch.

All seven people were taken to hospital, and a sample of Allan's blood was taken.

It showed she had a blood alcohol level of 125 milligrams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood. The legal limit is 80mg.

The woman driving the first car, Amanda Ludwig, read her victim impact statement to the court.

She said her children were badly affected by the crash, with her two sons having night tremors and her daughter afraid of cars.

She was working towards getting a fulltime job at Fonterra, but that was now on hold due to the injuries she suffered.

Her pelvis was broken, requiring multiple surgeries and a long stay in hospital.

Ludwig said she could not forgive Allan for the harm caused to her family due to her "foolishness" in drinking and driving.

The woman from the second car, who was not in court, was left with a cracked vertebrae, serious whiplash and bruising.

Defence lawyer Peter Coles said Allan had an eventful day leading up to the crash.

She had attended her son's Parole Board hearing that morning, before learning a family member had committed suicide.

She also had an "upsetting" argument that evening, before her son called her asking for help.

Coles said the son was living in Palmerston North, addicted to synthetic drugs and struggling to live legally in the community.

Allan had driven towards Palmerston North to help her son, he said.

Coles said Allan was the sole provider for her chronically ill partner and 14-year-old daughter.

She had taken part in restorative justice, pleaded guilty to the charges as soon as possible and was already paying reparation to her victims for the damage to their vehicles, he said.

Judge Barbara Morris said she had to send a clear message that the community would not tolerate drink-driving.

But she also had to take into account Allan's circumstances.

Allan was remorseful, had not drunk alcohol since the incident and had done everything possible to make up for what she did, the judge said.

Allan was sentenced to 4 months' home detention and was disqualified from driving for a year.

Manawatu Standard