An NHS dental nurse who downed a ‘couple of glasses of wine’ before crashing her Audi TT sports car into a lammpost has escaped with a fine after telling the judge she had an anxiety condition and was a ‘nervous driver’.
Nikki Dutton, 36, was found to be one and a half times over the drink-drive limit when she lost control of the vehicle after seeing another car edge out of a driveway in front of her.
Chester magistrates court heard that on October 29 last year, Dutton had been drinking wine with her aunt over a period of four hours before getting behind the wheel of the car just before 11pm.
But when she saw another vehicle edging out on to the road, she ‘swerved out of the way and accelerated out of panic’ causing her to plough into a hedge and smash into the lamppost.
She admitted to drink driving and was ordered to pay a fine of £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 she saw another car edge out of a driveway in front of her. The Audi ploughed through a hedge, before smashing into a lamppost on in Northwich, on October 29 last year
Tests showed Dutton had 109 milligrams of alcohol in 100ml of blood, with the legal limit in blood being 80mg
Dutton was also banned from driving for 14 months, but she was given the option to reduce the ban by a quarter if she takes the drink drive awareness course
In court, Dutton claimed she was nervous of driving as she refused to go on motorways or on roads that she was unfamiliar with.
However, it was not explained nor asked why she drove such a high performance vehicle, which can do 0-60-mph in just 5.45 seconds and has maximum speeds of 155mph.
In prosecuting, Andrew Madden, said that PC Whalley attended the scene in Northwich, and added: ‘The vehicle had left the road, gone through a hedge and crashed into a lamp post.
‘The defendant failed a roadside breath test and was taken to a local hospital to be checked over. A sample of blood was taken and tests showed she was over the alcohol limit. The defendant was interviewed and accepted being the driver.
‘She was very remorseful for what happened. There are no previous convictions. She is a woman of good character. The Crown does submit that the collision is an aggravating factor.’
Tests showed Dutton had 109 milligrams of alcohol in 100ml of blood, with the legal limit in blood being 80mg.
Dutton’s solicitor, Catherine Davies, continued to say that the 36-year-old had gone to her aunt’s house at around 7pm that evening, and ‘had a couple of glasses of wine over a period of four hours.’
Dutton’s solicitor, Catherine Davies, said that the NHS dental nurse was driving along Burrows Hill when she spotted a car edging out on to the road and anticipated that it was going to pull out
The court heard that Dutton had lost her stepfather to alcohol related illness, and also her best friend was killed in a car crash when she was 17
The solicitor continued: ‘She didn’t feel drunk and did not realise that she would be over the prescribed limit. She now knows that drinking alcohol and driving do not mix.
Miss Davies said that Dutton was driving along Burrows Hill when she spotted a car edging out on to the road and anticipated that it was going to pull out.
‘It continued to edge out instead of coming to halt,’ the solicitor said, ‘She swerved out of the way and accelerated out of panic which is when she crashed into the lamp post.
‘Miss Dutton does suffer from anxiety which also affects her driving. One would say she is a nervous driver. She does not drive on the motorway and does not drive on roads she is not aware of.
‘She accepts that due to alcohol her judgment may have been impaired at the time.’
The court also heard that Dutton had lost her stepfather to alcohol related illness, and also her best friend was killed in a car crash when she was 17.
An Audi TT, similar to the one Dutton was driving. The sports car can do 0-60-mph in just 5.45 seconds and has maximum speeds of 155mph (File image)
She is a dental nurse who has been working for the NHS for the last 17 years, where Miss Davies added: ‘She was a front-line worker during Covid 19.
‘She worked all through the pandemic giving emergency and primary care to patients.
‘She has achieved a lot in her career and assisting the community. During the pandemic she struggled with her mental health, struggling due to a number of factors. No sentence can make her feel as lowly as she does about her actions.
‘This offence is completely out of character. This is a one-off momentary and costly mistake. She is a young woman who has made a big mistake and taken learnings from it. I ask that you do deal with her as leniently as your public duty allows.’
Dutton was also ordered to pay £236 in costs and a victim surcharge.
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 drink drive awareness course.
JP Andrew Platt said: ‘We have listened to what’s been said in particular by your solicitor and clearly, we accept your remorse on this occasion. However, you simply cannot afford to get behind the wheel of a car when you have been drinking.’