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Mental health battle resulted in dramatic city centre crash

A Mackay Magistrate has wished a woman who appeared before him the best in her battle with mental health.
A Mackay Magistrate has wished a woman who appeared before him the best in her battle with mental health. John Gass

A MACKAY mum struggling with mental health issues drunkenly sped through the city centre at 50km/h over the speed limit before crashing through an art instalment and into a wall.

No one was injured and the woman has since sought assistance after her desperate actions on December 11 last year.

Nevertheless, the crash landed the woman, aged in her late 20s, before Mackay Magistrates Court, pleading guilty to dangerous operation of a vehicle and driving while over the middle alcohol limit.

We've chosen not to identify the woman due to the sensitive nature of the case.

Prosecutor Shelby Larcombe provided the facts to Magistrate Damien Dwyer in Mackay Magistrates Court on November 6.

"Your honour, at approximately 6.10am on December 11, 2016, the defendant was observed by an off-duty police officer to start her vehicle, pull out of a carpark and drive along Wood Street, towards River Street," she said.

"As the vehicle approached River St the defendant has accelerated heavily, causing a major increase in speed, to approximately 80 km/h in a 30km/h zone. The defendant drove the vehicle across the intersection of Wood St and River St without braking or attempting to negotiate the turn.

"The vehicle ploughed through the centre island, destroying timber bollards, and then through a large red artistic sign, about two metres tall, before hitting a block wall that separates the pedestrian boardwalk from the road area. The defendant has hit the block wall with such force that the air-bags deployed ... the vehicle being left in an irreparable state."

After the crash, the woman was detained by police and submitted to a roadside breath test in which she blew 0.115 per cent BAC. She admitted she'd been drinking bourbon before hopping in the car.

The woman's defence solicitor, Victoria Meechan, explained the "sadness of the case" and said her client had been trying to take her own life. She said the woman, who had received help through her GP, had a limited traffic history and was able to pay a fine, as she was working casually.

The case was adjourned for several days and returned to court on November 10 for sentencing.

On that day, Mr Dwyer wished the woman the best in her battle with mental health.

"I hope and pray you're getting the assistance you need and this sort of thing doesn't happen," he said.

"Your history is almost negligible. I'm feeling satisfied that this occurred because of a mental condition at the time and I'm going to treat it as such."

He fined the woman $1000, disqualified her licence for nine months and recorded convictions.

"Best of luck to you. Keep talking to your doctors ... keep talking to everybody," Mr Dwyer added. The woman agreed she would.

Has this story raised issues for you? Call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or beyondblue on 1300 224 636

Topics:  editors picks mackay city centre mackay court mackay crime mackay magistrates court mackay police mental health queensland police service

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