A North Nowra woman who produced a breath reading more than five times the legal limit after crashing her car in roadworks on the Princes Highway between Bomaderry and Berry, has been fined and disqualified from driving.
Rachel Mary McKay, 52, previously pleaded guilty to high range drink driving in Nowra Local Court and on Monday, September 14 was placed on a Community Corrections Order for 12 months, meaning she can serve her sentence in the community rather than in jail.
She was also fined $2000, disqualified from driving for eight months and must have an interlock device fitted to her vehicle for two years.
Court papers said McKay was driving a Hyundai north on the Princes Highway near Crosiers Road at Jaspers Brush just after 6am on February 8 this year, when her vehicle collided with several concrete barriers on the edge of the road as part of the ongoing Princes Highway upgrade between Berry and Bomaderry.
The impact caused the vehicle to flip several times.
McKay was trapped inside the vehicle and was required to be cut free by emergency services. She suffered a fractured neck, severe head injuries, facial lacerations and was scalped.
She was freed from the wreckage by NSW Ambulance paramedics and airlifted to St George Hospital in a stable condition by the Toll NSW Ambulance Rescue helicopter.
Blood tests later returned an alcohol reading of 0.269.
In a letter to the court on April 22, McKay lodged a plea of guilty, saying she wanted to apologise to everyone involved.
"Thanks to the police, ambulance, doctors and nurses who took great care of my family and I at the time," her letter said.
The court heard she was being treated for anxiety and depression and the evening prior to the accident had had some wine with dinner.
Due to stresses and staffing issues in her job in the food services at David Berry Hospital, the court heard her anxiety levels "heightened" during the evening to the point where she couldn't sleep.
The court heard she drank Baileys, a liquer she doesn't usually consume, to try to get some sleep.
She was unaware of the potency of the drink and due to her anxiety had not realised her level of intoxication.
Magistrate Gabriel Fleming said Ms McKay was "an extremely lucky person".
"We are lucky you are still here with us," she said.
The magistrate acknowledged Ms McKay had suffered some serious injuries and consequences as a result of the accident.
"You should not have been driving," she said.
"You were five times the legal limit. At .269 you can't responsibly operate a vehicle. Your brain can't tell your hands or body how to work.
"You were just lucky you didn't kill yourself or someone else on the road.
"You've paid a high price but the injuries you suffered you are lucky to still have the use of your arms and legs."
Magistrate Fleming ordered she continue counselling for her alcohol and mental health issues.
Read more: Crime/Court
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