Shocking moment mother who downed vodka launches car 14ft into air with 20-month-old son inside

Patrick Grafton-Green

This is the shocking moment a drink-driving mother launched her car 14ft in the air, landing on its roof, while her toddler was in the back seat.

Horrific dash-cam footage shows Tania Chikwature’s car overtaking an lorry on the wrong side of solid white lines before travelling straight into a roundabout.

Her grey Nissan Qashqai then flies into the air before landing on its roof on the far side of the roundabout, smashing into a crash barrier and coming to a stop about 50 metres further up the road.

Images show the wreckage of the car as it lies on its roof, with debris strewn across the motorway.

Chikwature and her son had to be rescued from the wreckage of the car by members of the public (PA)

Members of the public rushed to the car and pulled Chikwature’s 20-month-old son, who was hanging upside down in his car seat, out of the wreckage.

District judge Ken Sheraton jailed her for 26 weeks on Monday and ordered a three-year driving ban at Peterborough Magistrates' Court.

He told the defendant: "It's only by luck and certainly by no judgement of yours that you're not here today facing far more serious charges, and you're fortunate that somebody didn't die in that accident."

Police and ambulance raced to the scene and the 32-year-old initially refused to provide a routine breath sample.

Officers later found she had 246 mg of alcohol in 100 ml at the time of the incident. The legal limit is 80 mg of alcohol per 100 ml of blood.

Corinne Soanders-Silk, prosecuting, said: "She said she had been drinking vodka from 9pm to 1am the night before.

"She said she didn't feel drunk."

The court heard a vodka bottle was found in the car.

The drink-driving mother launched her car 14ft in the air after it hit a roundabout

The lorry driver Richard Jones said, in a written statement, that he saw the car approaching "at speed" in his mirrors and had to brake to allow the car to complete the overtake manoeuvre.

"The car seemed out of control and from the speed it came past me I knew it wasn't making the roundabout," he said.

"I saw it veer right and mount the concrete roundabout.

"I remember thinking as it launched into the air, they're not going to make it."

He said the car went 14ft in the air.

"It cleared the roundabout, hitting a tree as it flew over it," he added. "I could see utter devastation."

Police said it was 'pure luck' nobody died in the crash (PA)

PC David Tudman, from the Beds, Cambs and Herts Road Policing Unit, said: "Chikwature showed complete disregard for the safety and welfare of her child and other road users in her manner of driving.

“It is pure luck that nobody was killed that day.”

The incident happened on the A606 in Peterborough at around 11.40am on December 12.

Sarah Dunne, mitigating, said Chikwature was remorseful and of previous good character.

Chikwature, a married stay-at-home mother, appeared at court on Monday after pleading guilty to dangerous driving and driving while under the influence of alcohol at a hearing last month.

She was jailed for 26 weeks for dangerous driving and 12 weeks for drink-driving to be served concurrently.

She was banned from driving for three years and ordered to pay £115 costs.