Drink-drive mum with children in car had ‘near miss’ with elderly woman in wheelchair, court hears

Exeter magistrates court. Ref exe 01-17TI 4925. Picture: Terry Ife

Exeter magistrates court. Ref exe 01-17TI 4925. Picture: Terry Ife - Credit: Archant

Magistrates ban woman from West Hill, Ottery St Mary, from driving for 28 months.

A mother who was three-and-a-half times the drink-drive limit during the ‘school run’ has been banned from getting behind the wheel.

Penny Keys, 44, of Windmill Lane, West Hill, had two of her children in her VW Passat and was followed by an off-duty police officer who saw her driving erratically in Exmouth one day last July.

Exeter Magistrates’ Court heard Keys was driving very slowly, then sped up, veered across the road and nearly struck an elderly woman in a wheelchair by a roundabout. Prosecutor Philip Sewell said: “The vehicle did not stop - it was a near miss.”

Keys was taken to hospital and a blood sample was taken. It showed 271mg of alcohol in 100ml of blood. The legal limit for driving is 80mg in 100ml.

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Mother-of-four Keys told police she had drunk a glass of wine and was going through a divorce. She told the court her husband had ‘made her life hell’, adding: “It is mental torture. There is no excuse for what I have done.”

A probation officer told the court that Keys, who used to be in the RAF, took alcohol to cope and was ‘very remorseful and regretful’ and ‘shocked at her own behaviour’.

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Keys failed to turn up for her trial last month and the drink-drive charge was proved in her absence.

Magistrates last week banned her from driving for 28 months, ordered her to pay £285 in court costs, and she was told to carry out 120 hours of unpaid work as part of a one-year community order.

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