Impaired driver banned for five years after Hallowe’en night crash

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A 42-year-old woman who drove her car into another vehicle while impaired, yesterday denied she then attacked the accident victim.

Melissa Ray is said to have slammed a car door into Jessica Robertson’s knees and pushed her and pulled her hair, because Ms Robertson called police to report the accident.

Ray denied using offensive words and also the alleged assault, in Magistrates’ Court yesterday. She admitted driving while impaired and leaving the scene of the Hallowe’en night collision.

She was banned from driving for five years by Senior Magistrate Archibald Warner, who noted her prior convictions for driving while impaired.

The Margarita Lane, Devonshire resident told the court she hadn’t been drinking. She said she had taken prescription sleeping pills and didn’t realise the effect they would have on her.

Crown counsel Nicole Smith told the court that the defendant’s car crashed into another car on Middle Road in Devonshire near Chaingate Hill around 10.15pm on Monday.

Instead of stopping, Ray pulled away and continued home.

Ms Robertson, the driver of the second vehicle, followed her. She parked behind Ray and called police to report the accident.

Ray allegedly then confronted Ms Robertson and said: “You are a b****. Why couldn’t you just get my name? I have insurance.”

She is accused of then slamming the car door into Ms Robertson’s knees, pushing her and pulling her hair.

When police arrived on the scene, Ray had entered her home and did not respond to requests to open the door. Officers forced the door open and found Ray in her bed, smelling of alcohol.

Ray is alleged to have repeatedly sworn at the officers.

The court heard she said: “You f***ing idiots. You don’t know what you are doing.

“F**k you, you guys are ruining people’s lives.”

She appeared in Magistrates’ Court in police custody,

She said she had taken a larger than usual dose of sleeping pills, but then realised she needed to return a movie to Phase 1.

“I didn’t have a drink,” she said. “I have not been drinking. I only had to drive half a mile. I thought I would be okay.”

Ray said she only left the scene of the accident in order to drive home to call police.

She begged the court not to imprison her, saying she was getting help for her drinking problem and putting her life back together.

Mr Warner warned her that if she continued to drive while impaired, it was only a matter of time before she killed someone.

He noted her previous convictions for driving while impaired and said that if he had the power to ban her from the road for the rest of her life, he would.

“You have had the full gambit of sentences from fines to disqualifications to suspended sentences to the activation of suspended sentences and incarceration.

“You are going to kill someone on the road. It’s my duty to make sure people like you don’t continue to drive on the road and kill people.”

In addition to the driving ban, he sentenced her to six months’ imprisonment, suspended for 24 months.

Mr Warner fined Ray $2,000 for driving while impaired and leaving the scene of an accident.

Ray is to reappear in court in January to face the charges of assault and using offensive words.

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