Ban for drunk OAP after shop crash

CCTV footage of the accident
CCTV footage of the accident

A pensioner drove into a shop after accidentally pressing the accelerator instead of the brake, a court has heard.

The entirety of 79-year-old Marion Smith’s car ended up inside the One Stop Store, on Chestnut Drive South in Leigh, except for the right back wheel, Wigan and Leigh Magistrates Court heard.

The incident happened at around 5.20pm on May 29, meaning there were customers in the store, including a mum with her daughter and six-year-old son.

The court heard that the boy was completely buried by rubble from the crash and was so scared and stayed so still his mum, who cannot be named for legal reasons, thought he was dead.

Smith, of Beech Walk, Leigh, pleaded guilty to failing to provide a sample and to driving without due care and attention at Wigan and Leigh Magistrates on Wednesday.

Tess Kenyon, prosecuting, said: “There were customers inside at the time and there is an impact statement from a mum who was in the shop at the time with her young children.

“One of her children was thrown back by the car and she says ‘I thought my child was dead. He was buried under a pile of shelves, glass and ceiling. I have never experienced such panic before’.

“She continued ‘this has had a devastating affect on my children and my family’.”

The court heard how both children had suffered from nightmares since and struggled to sleep which was affecting their schoolwork. They were also both anxious about being separated from each other and their parents.

The court heard that several attempts were made to take an adequate sample from Smith both at the roadside and at the station but she was unable to provide one. She claimed to have had only one glass of wine.

Peter Gilmour, defending, said: “Mrs Smith is devastated by this incident. This is totally out of character for her and something she bitterly regrets. She was very upset to hear about the little boy and the affect it has had on him.

“Mrs Smith had a drink with lunch, which she admitted to officers, and had then been preparing dinner for her grandson. She realised she didn’t have anything for him to drink.

“She went to drive into a parking space along the front of the shop and meant to apply the brakes but instead accelerated. It is her fault and she offers no excuse for it.

“She has no intention of driving again. Before the incident she had been considering whether to continue driving. But she renewed her car insurance two days before the incident, something I am sure she wishes she hadn’t done now.”

Smith was given a 12-month community order with 50 hours unpaid work and a three-year driving ban. She was also ordered to pay £170 costs.