An NHS dental assistant who downed ‘a few glasses of wine’ before crashing her Audi TT sports car into a streetlight has escaped with a fine after telling the judge she had an anxiety disorder and was a ‘nervous driver’ .
Nikki Dutton, 36, was found to be one and a half times over the drink-driving limit when she lost control of the vehicle after seeing another car pull out of a driveway in front of her.
Chester court heard that Dutton had spent four hours drinking wine with her aunt on October 29 last year before getting behind the wheel of the car just before 11pm.
But when she saw another vehicle pull into the road, she “floated out of the way and accelerated in panic,” plowing into a hedge and crashing into the lamppost.
She admitted to driving under the influence of alcohol and was fined £294. She was also banned from driving for 14 months, with the option to reduce the ban.
Nikki Dutton lost control of her sports car, an Audi TT, after seeing another car pull out of a driveway in front of her. The Audi plowed through a hedge before crashing into a lamppost in Northwich on October 29 last year
Tests showed that Dutton had 109 milligrams of alcohol in 100 ml of blood, with a legal limit of 80 mg in the blood
Dutton also received a 14-month driving ban, but she was given the option to have the ban reduced by a quarter if she takes the drunk driving awareness course
In court, Dutton claimed she was nervous while driving because she refused to drive on highways or roads she was unfamiliar with.
However, it was not explained or asked why she was driving such a powerful vehicle, which can go from 0 to 100 km/h in just 5.45 seconds and has a maximum speed of 250 km/h.
In the prosecution, Andrew Madden said PC Whalley attended the Northwich crime scene, adding: ‘The vehicle had gone off the road, gone through a hedge and crashed into a lamppost.
“The defendant failed a roadside breath test and was taken to a local hospital for a check-up. Blood was taken and tests showed she was over the alcohol limit. The defendant was questioned and accepted to be the driver.
“She was very sorry for what happened. There are no previous convictions. She is a woman of good character. The Crown does state that the collision is an aggravating factor.’
Tests showed that Dutton had 109 milligrams of alcohol in 100 milliliters of blood, with a legal limit of 80 milligrams in the blood.
Dutton’s lawyer, Catherine Davies, continued to say that the 36-year-old had gone to her aunt’s house around 7pm that night and “had a few glasses of wine for four hours.”
Dutton’s lawyer Catherine Davies said the NHS dental assistant was driving past Burrows Hill when she saw a car pull into the road and expected it to stop
The court heard that Dutton had lost her stepfather to an alcohol-related illness, and that her best friend also died in a car accident when she was 17.
The lawyer continued: “She didn’t feel drunk and didn’t realize she would exceed the prescribed limit. She now knows that drinking alcohol and driving don’t mix.
Miss Davies said so Dutton was driving over Burrows Hill when she saw a car coming up the road and expected it to leave.
“It kept swerving instead of coming to a stop,” the lawyer said, “she swerved out of the way and accelerated in panic and then crashed into the lamppost.
Miss Dutton does indeed suffer from anxiety which also affects her driving. You’d say she’s a nervous driver. She doesn’t drive on the highway and doesn’t drive on roads she doesn’t know.
“She accepts that her judgment may have been impaired by alcohol at the time.”
The court also learned that Dutton had lost her stepfather to an alcohol-related illness, and also that her best friend died in a car accident when she was 17.
An Audi TT, similar to Dutton’s. The sports car accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h in just 5.45 seconds and has a maximum speed of 250 km/h (File image)
She is a dental assistant who has worked for the NHS for the past 17 years, to which Miss Davies added: ‘She was a frontline worker during Covid 19.
“She worked throughout the pandemic, providing primary and emergency care to patients.
“She has accomplished a lot in her career and helping the community. During the pandemic, she struggled with her mental health due to a number of factors. No sentence can make her feel as low as she does about her actions.
“This crime is completely out of character. This is a one-time, temporary and costly error. She is a young woman who made a big mistake and learned lessons from it. I beg you to deal with her as leniently as your public duty permits.’
Dutton was also ordered to pay £236 in costs and a victim’s allowance.
She was also banned from driving for 14 months. However, she was given the option to reduce the ban by a quarter if she takes the Awareness of Driving Under the Influence course.
JP Andrew Platt said: ‘We have listened to what was said in particular by your lawyer and it is clear that we accept your regret on this occasion. But you just can’t afford to get behind the wheel of a car when you’ve been drinking.’