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Drink-driver mum jailed after flipping car with toddler in the back

The Nissan Qashqai flips into the air after ploughing into the roundabout
The Nissan Qashqai flips into the air after ploughing into the roundabout

A mother who downed vodka then flipped her car on to its roof while her toddler was in the back has been jailed.

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

She overtook a lorry on the approach to a roundabout, her vehicle mounted a concrete island and was launched 14ft into the air before landing on its roof, said Corinne Soanders-Silk, prosecuting.

The defendant's 20-month old son was in the back of the car at the time and was shocked but unhurt. 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.

The entire incident was captured in dash-cam footage and was witnessed by lorry driver Richard Jones.

He 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 in 100 ml 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."

The court heard a vodka bottle was found in the car.

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.