Child Abuse

This is nothing short of child abuse:

A mother nearly three times over the drink-driving limit had her two young children strapped in the back seat of her car when she drifted to the wrong side of the road and hit an oncoming car, a court has been told.

“The oncoming drivers must have been scared witless, let alone the effect on your children,” Judge Michael Crosbie told solo mother Joanne Tracy Oates, 41, of Outram.

Oates appeared in Dunedin District Court yesterday and admitted driving with a breath-alcohol level of 1170mcg, dangerous driving and failing to stop after an accident.

Prosecutor Sergeant Paul Knox said Oates was at home with her children, aged 3 and 5, on January 16 when she decided to go for a drive after drinking throughout the day.

About 4.50pm, driving her Isuzu Bighorn on State Highway 87 with her children secure in the rear seat, Oates was weaving as she travelled about 90kmh.

Oates drifted on to the wrong side of the road, forcing three oncoming cars to move as far left as possible to avoid impact.

Her car hit the driver’s side of the second vehicle, sending it spinning.

Oates did not stop and continued driving, followed by a member of the public who gave directions to police.

When she was stopped in Mosgiel, Oates was extremely intoxicated, slurring her speech and unsteady on her feet.

No one was injured in the crash but Oates’ vehicle, and the vehicle she struck both had extensive damage.

Oates was initially abusive and blamed the crash on the other driver.

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