By Jason Lewis | Salisbury Journal |
An unlicensed driver (from Zimbabwe) who travelled the wrong way along a dual carriageway at night narrowly avoiding multiple crashes, including with a HGV, a UK court heard.
Tsitsi Tayerera was told that it was a “matter of luck, not judgement” that no one was killed as a result of her actions on the A31 in January.
The 28-year-old avoided being put behind bars when she was sentenced at Bournemouth Crown Court on April 9.
Judge Robert Pawson, who handed her a six-month prison term, suspended for one year, said her driving was “about as dangerous as it could possibly be”.
Tayerera pleaded guilty to driving dangerously, failing to provide a specimen of breath, driving without a licence and driving without insurance at an earlier hearing.
The judge told her “you could have killed someone”, adding that he expects she would never have been able to get over it if she had.
“It is a matter of luck, not judgement, that you didn’t,” said Judge Pawson.
Prosecuting, Robert Harding said Tayerera, of Britannia Road North, Southsea, first caught the attention of an off duty police officer late on January 11.
He noticed a Volkswagen Sirocco swerving “all over the road” as she headed from the M27 across the New Forest on the A31 on the correct carriageway.
The officer saw the vehicle the defendant was driving was damaged and its speed was fluctuating from 25mph up to 70mph.
He contacted police control, stating that he believed there was a drink driver on the road.
Police officers were dispatched and eventually located the vehicle shortly before 12.30am on January 12 heading westbound towards Ringwood but on the eastbound carriageway.
A pursuit ensued with officers illuminating their lights but due to concerns they would distract other motorists and cause a crash they turned them off for a period.
Mr Harding said: “The vehicle was seen travelling at 30mph up to around 70mph.
“A HGV lorry was seen passing the vehicle in the opposite direction and the vehicle narrowly avoided a collision.”
Tayerera was eventually brought to a stop on the A31 at some point west of Ringwood, with officers having to deploy a stinger.
When the defendant was removed from the vehicle she was “stumbling around and falling down”, with officers having to let her of a police vehicle to be sick.
She was arrested and in interview she apologised for causing a disruption.
The defendant failed to provide a full sample of breath despite repeated attempts.
Tayerera, a recruitment administrator, had been drinking with friends in Southampton on the evening of January 11 but she had no connection to the Dorset area.
Mitigating, Tom Acworth said that just hours before the hearing the defendant had discovered she was pregnant.
She arrived at court early and got a Covid test nearby before a subsequent test of a different kind revealed she was expecting.
The barrister said she is “deeply ashamed” of her offending, which had been committed in a friend’s car.
Judge Pawson said Tayerera had been drinking which was “something of a novelty to her” and in her “very drunken” state she decided to go out in a car on her own.
He noted the defendant’s “whole-hearted” remorse, the impact her brother’s death had been having on her at the time of the offences and her inexperience with alcohol.
Alongside the suspended sentence, Judge Pawson imposed a three-month overnight curfew, disqualified Tayerera from driving for two years, with an extended test requirement, and fined her £500.
He said it would be inappropriate to impose immediate custody in the circumstances, adding that Tayerera was deemed as having a “very low risk” of reoffending.