Emergency services join forces to drive home drink-drive message

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Don’t get behind the wheel after drinking, or this could happen to you. That was the sobering message being driven home to motorists by members of the emergency services yesterday (Tuesday) as they hauled a wrecked car into Marlborough High Street.

The warning was issued as the emergency services brace themselves for the busiest time of the year, when a lethal cocktail of booze and bad weather lead to more crashes on Wiltshire’s roads.

The car was involved in a fatal road traffic accident in April 2011 on the A342 Devizes-to-Upavon road at Conock.

The female driver – who was over the drink-drive limit – left the road at speed while negotiating a bend and hit a tree.

The roadshow brought memories flooding back for Marlborough GP Jonathan Glover, a member of the SWIFT Medics group of volunteer doctors who provide emergency care at the scene of serious road traffic accidents and other life threatening medical emergencies.

Dr Jonathan, along with his colleague Dr James Mapstone, treated the woman at the scene.

“When we got there, members of the fire and rescue team were lifting her from the wrecked car, the ambulance was already there and the air ambulance was landing” he recalled.

“She was seriously injured. The SWIFT Medics and emergency service’s teams worked heroically using all the technology and the advanced skills available to support her life. .

“I accompanied her in the Wiltshire Air Ambulance to Frenchay Hospital in Bristol. Because of its shared police role and the additional specialised equipment it carries, the Wiltshire Air Ambulance is one of very few air ambulances in the country that can fly at night.

“She was unconscious throughout the whole thing; she wouldn’t have known what was going on.”

Sandra Hahn never regained consciousness. She died of her injuries 11 days after the crash.

“She received the best possible treatment, but sometimes that’s just not enough,” said Dr Jonathan.

“SWIFT Medics doctors get involved in these public events because it is important for people to see the consequences of drinking and driving.

“I would rather spend an afternoon telling people to drive safely than a night trying to save their lives.”

Sergeant Craig Hardy from the serious collision investigation team at Police HQ in Devizes had this advice for drivers: “The message is simple: Don’t drink and drive; don’t take the risk.”

An inquest in March this year heard that 22-year-old Miss Hahn had consumed five pints of lager and a pint of bitter before getting behind the wheel of her mother’s left hand drive Mazda estate car.

A blood sample taken five hours after the accident showed she was still over the drink-drive limit. Police investigators estimated Miss Hahn was driving at 70mph when she left the road, and hit the tree at 42mph.

Assistant deputy coroner Dr Claire Balsyz recorded a verdict of accidental death.

  • The roadshow visits Trowbridge on Wednesday (December 12), Devizes on Thursday and Chippenham on Friday.


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