Onlookers ‘spooked’ Wigan drunk driver who fled

Wigan And Leigh Magistrates' Court
Wigan And Leigh Magistrates' Court

A Wigan motorist who ploughed into a parked car in front of a packed beer garden, told magistrates she fled the scene to escape angry onlookers.

Emma Gaskell, of Park Road in Orrell, appeared at Wigan Magistrates’ Court the charged with having 62mcg of alcohol in her breath and failing to stop after an accident.

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The court heard how the 35-year-old, who pleaded guilty, had crashed into a car near the Gathurst Station Inn.

Heather Cooper, whose car was damaged in the incident, told police that she had been at the pub attending a charity quiz when the crash happened on July 5.

Prosecuting, Tess Kenyon said: “Ms Cooper had left her car parked and locked on the main road. She was sitting in the beer garden at around 9.30pm when she heard a bang.

“She could see a female driving a silver Audi doing 'a million' point turns. She was screaming for her to stop. When she got to her car she realised it had been damaged.”

Two men ran towards the scene and managed to take photos of Gaskell’s car before it “shot off” down the road.

Wigan police found that the rogue driver was registered to Park Road. On arriving there was no sign of Gaskell, but a neighbour gave officers a previous address on Latimer Close also in Orrell.

She was apprehended when the police found her at the property with a man who had come to fix her damaged wheel arch.

“Initially she stated that she hadn’t been drinking,” said Ms Kenyon. “Then she said that she had been drinking but not driving. Then she ran but he chased after her. She was carrying four unopened bottles of alcohol.”

Gaskell told magistrates that she “downed a load of JD” when she arrived at the house, just before being caught by police.

“My mum recently passed away,” she told the court. “My dad has only got two weeks to live. I had a breakdown.

“When I had that little bump all these people started chasing after me. I had banged my wheel so took my car to a previous address.

“I downed a load of JD and when I walked to the shop that’s when the police were already there - that’s why I was more over the limit. I know it’s no excuse.

“I got spooked when all these people were chasing after my car.”

When told she would be given a tag, she said: “I didn’t realise it was that serious.”

She was given a curfew for eight weeks, disqualified from driving for 16 months and ordered to pay £170 in costs.