04 January 2008

A sobering reaction

What driver among us hasn't swerved to avoid (or at least try to avoid) hitting a squirrel?

A news report from Wales (cut and pasted below) tells of such an incident, which left the young motorist trapped in her vehicle after it rolled over. The driver was also drunk, apparently, as police tests later disclosed.

What I find interesting here is that she wasn't so bombed that she became unable to react to the animal's presence and thus save its life. Perhaps, if anything, her inebriation caused her to over-correct her momentary detour, thus nearly costing her own life instead.

Driving is a matter of difficult judgment calls. It's wise to try and avoid hitting anything - a person, certainly, and an animal, absolutely. But reactions to such living obstacles require the kind of agility that doesn't imperil the driver, in tradeoff.

All the more reason to never drink and drive. You never know who else is sharing the road. And you want to make it home alive, regardless.

Here is the story in its entirety as it appeared on the Web site, ICWALES

A WOMAN who swerved to avoid a squirrel, ended up rolling her car and becoming trapped, Pontypridd Magistrates Court heard.

Fire officers had to free Jessica Perry, aged 20, of Ely Street, Tonypandy.

She was breathalysed some hours later in hospital and was found to be twice the drink-drive limit.

Perry pleaded guilty to driving her Renault Clio on August 15 with 160mgs of alcohol in her blood. The legal limit is 80.

She also admitted driving without due care and attention.

Dave Pugh, prosecuting, said that the accident took place at about 1.15am near the Coed Ely roundabout on the road leading to Talbot Green.

She lost control and went up an embankment. Every panel on the car was damaged including the roof which suggests the car may have rolled over.

When the emergency services arrived, Perry was trapped in the car and she had to be freed by firemen.

She gave the blood sample for analysis at 5.10am – four hours after the accident.

Neil Foley, defending, said that Perry swerved to avoid a squirrel which was running across the road and that’s how she lost control.

But he said that she accepted that the accident was probably caused because of the alcohol in her body.

District judge Vivian Manning-Davies said he was very concerned as the defendant was only 20 and could easily have killed herself.

“This is an alarmingly serious case for a young woman of just 20,” he said.

“I expect your parents to be as concerned as I am. I have a daughter not much older than you. I need a full picture of you and the only way to get that is for a full report to be carried out.”

He adjourned the case until January 23 for pre-sentence reports to be made.


my backyard said...

I wonder if she was really trying to avoid a squirrel or if that's a story.

We'll never know.

squirrelmama said...

You know, I hadn't considered that possibility but looking at her inebriated state it's entirely possible there was no squirrel at all. In which case this becomes a "let's blame the rodent" scenario. Changes things quite a bit, I'll say. Thanks for your perspective on that!