Grandmother couldn’t remember crashes after taking meds
A GOONELLABAH grandmother did not remember causing two car accidents on Christmas Day after taking anti-anxiety medication, a court has heard.
Linda May Everingham could not stand up straight when police found her after being called to a low-speed, head-on-crash in Pottsville.
The 78-year-old woman appeared in Tweed Heads Local Court on Monday to plead guilty to driving under the influence of a drug.
Court documents revealed a concerned member of the public rang police to question Everingham's sobriety after her car almost collided with them on the Pacific Hwy at Chinderah about 3.30pm on December 25, 2019.
At 3.45pm Everingham's Holden Commodore sedan hit both a 'keep left' and a speed limit sign on Tweed Coast Rd in Pottsville near the Coronation Dr roundabout, which came off her car and hit a Volkswagen Golf station wagon travelling in the other direction.
Everingham's car then veered right, crossing double lines and collided head-on with a Nissan X-Trail SUV.
The impact was about 40km/h. No airbags in either car were deployed and no one was injured in the crashes.
While police could not smell liquor, Everingham's eyes were droopy, her speech slurred and could not walk properly.
The mother-of-seven told police she had only taken her prescription medications for her heart and blood conditions.
At the hospital tests revealed she was affected by clonazepam - a drug which, if you take, you cannot operate a car.
Everingham's lawyer said she had the drug from a script from previous years for her anxiety.
The solicitor said his client had not been warned about not driving by her doctor and had never had ill-side effects while taking the drug before.
"She recognises it was a significant risk to the community … it is not exaggerated to say she was horrified to learn about what happened," he said.
The court heard she had not driven since the incident, her car had been written off and since she was over 75 she would need to undertake a medical test each year to renew her licence.
Magistrate Geoff Dunlevy sentenced her to a two-year conditional release order.
No conviction was recorded.