DRINK DRIVE: Natasha McLardie pleaded guilty to two charges of drink driving in Maroochydore Magistrates Court.
DRINK DRIVE: Natasha McLardie pleaded guilty to two charges of drink driving in Maroochydore Magistrates Court.

High-range drink-driver crashes day after rehab release

A high-range drink-driver who crashed the day after she was released from a rehab program has been warned that she has an extreme risk of being jailed if she is caught drink-driving again.

Natasha McLardie pleaded guilty to two charges of drink-driving in the Maroochydore Magistrates Court on July 6.

Police prosecutor Mark Burrell told the court that at 10.50am on April 24, police were called to a two-car crash on the roundabout at Carter Rd, Nambour.

"On arrival, police observed one of the vehicles was parked on the concrete island with extensive damage done to the front of the vehicle," he said.

The other car was on the footpath, also with significant damage.

The court heard McLardie had driven over the concrete island and crashed into the side of a car that had stopped to give way.

When police arrived McLardie, who is in her 40s, was still sitting in the driver's seat and had a strong smell of alcohol on her breath.

She told to police she had consumed alcohol before she drove.

After being taken to Nambour Hospital, she returned a blood-alcohol reading of 0.141.

On June 5 at 6pm, police attended a single-car crash on the Bruce Highway at Palmview, with damage to the front tyres and front bumper.

The driver was McLardie.

"Police spoke to a number of witnesses at the scene who had removed the keys from the ignition and stated they were following the defendant when they observed the defendant swerving all over the road colliding with a number of road signs and barriers before coming to a stop," Mr Burrell said.

"When speaking to the defendant, police observed her face was flushed, she had slurred speech and she was incoherent at times when replying to police."

She admitted to drinking straight bourbon before driving.

McLardie was breathalysed and returned a reading of 0.166.

"This is quite serious offending and it appears the offending is going up. Imprisonment is within range in my submission," Mr Burrell said.

The court heard McLardie had a previous drink-driving charge of 0.123 in 2019.

Duty lawyer Michael Robertson told the court McLardie had been in a rehabilitation program at Pine Rivers Hospital and had been released the day before her second drink-driving crash.

The court heard she was looking to secure a place at WHOS Najara for a longer treatment period.

Magistrate Matthew McLaughlin said the readings were extremely concerning.

"I take into account you're going through a difficult period in your life and I respect that you're doing something about it," he said.

"For that reason, I won't be considering a term of imprisonment, but it would certainly be within range otherwise.

"The last two occasions you crashed your car - you could have killed someone."

He fined McLardie $1800 and disqualified her from driving for 20 months.

"If you get caught drink-driving again during that 20 months while you're disqualified, you would be extreme risk of going to jail whether you're a very unwell person or not," Mr McLaughlin said.


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