Mother jailed after flipping car over roundabout with toddler in the back

Bethany Minelle, News Reporter

A mother has been jailed after smashing her car into a roundabout with her toddler strapped into the back.

Tania Chikwature, 32, was found to be three times over the legal drink-driving limit, Peterborough Magistrates' Court heard.

She had been drinking vodka and was on her way to a wake in December when she illegally overtook a lorry at speed before becoming airborne and flipping the vehicle on to its roof.

The car was launched 14ft (over 4m) into the air. Her 19-month-old son was left hanging upside down in his car seat and was pulled out of the wreckage by a passing motorist.

The infant was shocked but unhurt.

Dash-cam footage from the HGV Ms Chikwature was overtaking when she crashed shows her car approaching the roundabout on the A606 in Peterborough on the wrong side of the road, before becoming airborne and landing on its roof.

The court heard how Ms Chikwature had been drinking vodka the night before and a vodka bottle was found in the car.

She refused to give a breath sample at the scene, but, using a blood sample she later agreed to give in hospital, police calculated that she was over three times the legal limit.

Ms Chikwature, a married stay-at-home mother, denied she had an alcohol problem and insisted she did not feel drunk when driving.

Lorry driver Richard Jones, who witnessed the crash and had previously driven for the fire service for 15 years, said it was "one of the most dangerous pieces of driving he had ever seen, and described the scene as one of "utter devastation".

He also said that at no point had Ms Chikwature asked after the welfare of the child or refer to him in the aftermath of the crash.

Ms Chikwature, who pleaded guilty to drink-driving and dangerous driving, received unspecified injuries in the accident.

The judge told her it was "by luck and certainly by no judgement" that she was not facing more serious charges and handed her a three-and-a-half month jail sentence, a three-year driving ban and ordered her to pay £115 costs.

A police spokesman said that "it is pure luck that nobody was killed that day", and said the case should "serve as a warning to all motorists to highlight the dangers of driving while under the influence of alcohol, and to do so whilst in charge of a child is utterly irresponsible".

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