A Queenstown woman charged in relation to a car crash last
year will likely learn her fate next week after Judge Michael
Turner yesterday reserved his decision following a
judge-alone trial in the Queenstown District Court.
Susan Margaret Sanford (42), manager, of Arthurs Point,
denied one charge of driving under the influence of alcohol
to such an extent of being incapable of having proper control
on November 17 last year.
Constable Hugh O'Reilly, of Queenstown, said yesterday police
were called to an incident on Park St at 7.25pm involving
Sanford was at the scene and when he approached her she
stated: ''I think I'm in trouble.''
He said Sanford had taken an easy right-hand bend striking
three parked vehicles, shunting them sideways.
She had admitted consuming two glasses of wine and was
''unsteady on her feet''. She was leaning on her car, spoke
slowly, her speech was slurred and her eyes were bloodshot.
Sanford had a bump to her head,sustained in the crash but
declined to be attended by an ambulance.
A roadside breath test indicated her breath-alcohol level was
400mcg, over the legal limit.
She was again offered the option of being attended by an
ambulance, which she accepted, Const O'Reilly said.
She was treated at Lakes District Hospital and a blood sample
taken but, due to unforeseen circumstances, the sample was
Const O'Reilly said there was ''no reason I can think of why
a sober driver of reasonable skill could not have taken that
Sergeant Ian Collin referred to unchallenged notes taken by a
doctor who treated Sanford at the hospital and was aware of a
previous head injury.
Sanford told the doctor she had consumed ''too many wines''
and the doctor's opinion was she was ''happily intoxicated''.
Later notes indicated Sanford was to be referred on ''when
the patient is sober''.
Defence counsel Phil McDonald said Sanford had a pre-existing
head injury from a car accident in 2001, which had affected,
among other things, her speech and memory.
He referred to evidence from a clinical psychologist who
stated Sanford ''could present as being intoxicated even when
she hadn't been drinking alcohol''.
Mr McDonald submitted to Judge Turner there was no case to
answer because there was ''simply no proof'' the crash was
related to alcohol consumption.
Beau Rapley, of Queenstown, was a long-time associate of
Sanford and knew her before her accident in 2001.
Giving evidence yesterday, Mr Rapley said he was at the
hospital the night Sanford was treated. She did not appear to
be affected by alcohol and he could not smell alcohol on her.
Sanford told the court she had consumed two glasses of wine
and had food before and after drinking.
Judge Turner was expected to release his findings next week.