Leeds woman escaped drink-drive charge despite seriously injuring paramedic while going wrong way on roundabout

Police delays led to a woman not being charged with drink driving despite seriously injuring a paramedic when she drove the wrong way on a roundabout while over the limit.

Wednesday, 14th August 2019, 4:26 pm
Leeds Crown Court

Pakama Drewery was almost double the drink drive limit as she drove home from a party without a tyre on her front wheel.

A court heard the collision occurred as the 49-year-old got "completely lost" as she drove to her home in Leeds from Manchester in the early hours of the morning.

Drewery lost control of her VW Polo and collided with a paramedic who was making her way to work.

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Leeds Crown Court

The victim suffered a badly fractured wrist and was off work for five months as a result of the collision on August 12 last year.

Leeds Crown Court heard she may never fully recover from her injuries.

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She was given a suspended sentence after the court heard West Yorkshire Police missed the six-month expiry date for charging her with a drink driving offence.

Drewery should have been charged by February 11 this year but was not charged until March 19.

Emma Downing, prosecuting, told the court the collision happened as Drewery went the wrong way around a roundabout on New Hey Road, Huddersfield.

The paramedic was badly injured as the airbag deployed in her car.

Despite this she managed to get to Drewery's car to help her from the vehicle.

Miss Downing said Drewery appeared to be acting "bizarrely" when she got out of the vehicle.

She claimed she had got lost on her way home to Leeds.

Both women were taken to hospital where Drewery provided a breath sample that was close to double the drink-drive limit.

During police interview Drewery suggested that her drink may have been spiked.

The court heard that the victim had her arm in plaster for six weeks after the incident.

She underwent physiotherapy for more than three months but has still not fully recovered.

The prosecutor said the woman had also suffered from depression. The injury has led to her suffering financially.

Drewery has 11 previous convictions for offences including drink driving, criminal damage and assaulting a police officer.

Stuart Field, mitigating, said Drewery had pleaded guilty to the offence at an early stage.

Referring to the failure by police to charge her with drink driving, he said: "It is through no fault of her hers.

"It is the time the police took to investigate this matter."

Mr Field said Drewery was born in South Africa then moved to the UK with her family where her marriage broke down.

He said: "She at times sought solace in drink and tended to binge drink.

"She encountered a number of run-ins with the criminal justice system."

He said Drewery, a former bank worker, was now on medication to control her drinking.

The lawyer told the court that Drewery decided to drive home from the party as she had been "pestered" by someone and felt "personal fear."

He added: "She was completely and utterly lost when this occurred."

"She was disoriented and cannot explain in any real detail how the collision came to take place.

"One cannot minimise the fact that this was indeed dangerous driving and should never have happened."

The court heard Drewery lives with her teenage daughter who would suffer if she was sent to prison.

Drewery sobbed in the dock as Judge Simon Phillips QC sentenced her.

She was given a 20-month prison sentence, suspended for two years.

Drewery was also ordered to do 200 hours of unpaid work and take part in a 25-day rehabilitation activity requirement.

She was banned from driving for three years.

The judge did not order Drewery to pay compensation to the victim because of her financial position.

The judge said: "It seems you were driving a vehicle that had no front tyre. Quite how that came about has not been explained.

"You were in no fit state to be behind the wheel of the car in any event."

The judge added: "You had alcohol in your system but for reasons that have been explained there is no charge."