A solo mum who was three times the drink-driving limit when
she ploughed into a power pole with three pre-schoolers in
the back of the vehicle avoided jail today.
Amy Kathleen Reilly, 28, sobbed in the dock when the court
heard how she endangered the young children's lives by
driving with the excess breath alcohol of 1409 micrograms of
alcohol per litre of breath. The legal limit is 400mcg.
It was her sixth conviction for drink driving.
Defence counsel Craig Fletcher said his client had been
undergoing counselling, and Child, Youth and Family had been
called in relation to her children.
Christchurch District Court earlier heard that around 2.20pm
on June 19, Reilly was driving on Bower Ave, North New
Brighton, with a friend and the three children, all aged
under five and one of them unrestrained, when she lost
control of her car.
She veered to the left, mounted a footpath, and hit a power
The children were unhurt.
Reilly initially attempted to drive off, but was stopped by a
member of the public who reached in, removed the car keys and
When spoken to by police, she claimed her driving had been
affected by 'three valium' she had taken earlier in the day.
Today, her lawyer Mr Fletcher rejected claims that one of the
children was unrestrained, saying the child was in a booster
seat that was inappropriate for their age.
He said there was "limited damage" to the car, with just a
crack to the bumper, but Reilly accepted her blood alcohol
level was "astronomical".
The beneficiary got behind the wheel because a child had not
come home, but accepted her reasoning had "left her" by then.
Mr Fletcher asked the judge to step back from home detention
because she had to care for her family.
Reilly, who earlier admitted charges of careless driving and
driving with excess breath alcohol, now had care of four
children, Mr Fletcher said.
Her house was also in the earthquake-hit residential red
zone, and she will need to move out by the end of April.
Judge Phillip Moran accepted that Reilly suffered addictions
that had "bedevilled" her life, was on medication for
anxiety, and was not a "hardened criminal".
But he was concerned it was her sixth conviction for drink
driving - the previous was four years ago - and that she had
an accident with children in the car who were "exposed to
Community service was not appropriate, and he sentenced her
to six months' home detention at her New Brighton home, with
special conditions that she must attend drug and alcohol
She was also disqualified from driving indefinitely, and can
not reapply for a new licence within 12 months.