Drink driver crashed into bus and car before fleeing scene, court heard

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A woman has been handed a 12-month suspended jail sentence and banned from driving for five years after she crashed into two vehicles and fled the scene while more than two times over the drink-drive limit.

Nicola Lawton, 31, of Moorhan Way, Packmoor, was driving an Audi A3 through Newchapel, Newcastle-under-Lyme, on December 20 last year when she crashed into a bus with two passengers on board.

After a confrontation with the bus driver, Lawton drove off, leaving one passenger with back injuries and the bus with a shattered window, Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court heard.

Lawton was then seen driving on the wrong side of the road just half-a-mile from the first incident when she collided with a second vehicle, a Volvo.

After leaving the Audi further down the road, she fled the scene and ran across a nearby field.

At the time of the incident, Lawton was already banned from driving for a motoring offence in 2017.

Myles Wilson, prosecuting, said: “She was nearly three times over the limit, driving while disqualified with no insurance.

“She was only found when a member of her family spoke to the police and told them where they need to go to find her.

“She pushed a police officer, and was forced to the floor where her legs had to be restrained.”

Andrew Turnock, defending, said: “She is very keen not to be characterised as someone who disrespects the job that police officers do.

“She is remorseful. She has used alcohol for a number of years as a coping method to deal with her other issues.

“She has got to make some changes to try to relieve some of the pressure in her daily life.”

Sentencing Lawton at Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court, Recorder Julian Taylor said: “This is a very difficult case to deal with.

“There seems to be two different sides to Mrs Lawton.

“One side is a hard working woman for which there are many, good references – the other is someone who has committed a number of criminal offences.

“I accept that you have had a difficult background.

“I’m giving you a suspended sentence but be under no illusions that if you re-offend you will be back in front of me and you will go to prison.”

Lawton was handed an 18-month sentence, reduced to 12 for her guilty plea, which has been suspended for two years.

She must also complete a 35-day rehabilitation requirement and a six-month alcohol treatment program.

She has been banned from driving for five years.

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