A WOMAN who drunkenly ploughed her car into a Basingstoke mum – causing life-changing injuries – has been jailed for three years.
Agnieszka Chrzaszcz was nearly five times over the drink-drive limit when she reversed at speed in her Honda Civic car and hit Laura Percival outside the mother-of-three’s home, in Winklebury, in September last year.
Mrs Percival managed to throw her young daughter Freya to safety but bore the full brunt of the car’s impact, suffering four fractures of the spine, a crushed pelvis and a perforated bladder.
Sat in her wheelchair, Mrs Percival was in court to see 28-year-old mother-of-one Chrzaszcz put behind bars for causing serious injury by dangerous driving.
Simon Edwards, prosecuting, said Chrzaszcz, 28, gave a reading of 392 milligrammes of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood, more than two hours after the crash took place on Thursday, September 5, last year. The legal limit is 80mg.
The court heard that on the evening before the incident, Chrzaszcz had drunk half a bottle of vodka and cans of lager with some friends from her native Poland.
On September 5, she walked to pick up her son from Winklebury Infant School, in Willoughby Way, just after 3pm, and decided to get into her Honda Civic car which she had left by the school the day before.
Mr Edwards said Chrzaszcz reversed at speed, hitting three cars before going across a grassy area and colliding with Mrs Percival, who was just leaving her house.
Mr Edwards told the court: “The defendant got out. Witnesses described that she smelled strongly of alcohol, was visibly drunk, and could not focus.
“Witnesses approached her and tried to prevent her from walking off. In fact, that was entirely unnecessary because she was too drunk to walk off.”
Mr Edwards said Chrzaszcz was heard to say “No police, no ambulance” as she got out the car. Officers arrested her but she threw up blood at the police station, and so was taken to hospital before she was interviewed, the court heard.
Later in interview, she showed remorse but claimed that she had fainted at one point before the collision.
Louise Howard, defending, said Chrzaszcz, who came to the UK from Poland nine years ago, had no previous convictions.
The court heard the defendant had become an alcoholic in the past three years, and at the time was drinking a litre of vodka a day just to function.
Miss Howard said that since the incident, she had become sober, attending addiction meetings in Basingstoke voluntarily, and had written a letter of apology to Mrs Percival.
She added: “She understands the consequences of her actions, and the impact it has had on Laura Percival and her family.”
Jailing Chrzaszcz for three years for causing serious injury by dangerous driving, Judge Keith Cutler said that the three-year sentence had been reduced from a possible five due to the defendant’s early guilty plea and her remorse.
He told her: “This court has listened with horror to your actions.
“For parents of the school to realise that one of their pupils’ mothers was so unfit through drink must have been truly frightening.”
He also praised Mrs Percival for her quick-thinking in throwing her daughter away from the reversing car.
As well as being jailed, Chrzaszcz was also disqualified from driving for three years.
After the case, PC Andy Green, of Whitchurch Roads Policing Unit, said he was pleased with the sentence.
He said: “This is the most serious non-fatal traffic collision I have had to investigate in nine years of policing.
“I’m very happy with the sentence, and it reflects the seriousness of the injuries Laura has sustained and the ordeal that her and her family have had to endure.”