The 19-year-old was three times over the drink drive limit when she crashed a van into the side of a residential property on Christmas Eve in Gorseinon, Wales
Image: MEDIA WALES)
A teenager driving at three times the legal limit crashed a van into the side of a home on Christmas Eve.
Catherine Ruth Morgan, 19, had recently passed her driving test and was driving without insurance when she ploughed the black Volkswagen Caddy into the side of the apartment in Gorseinon, Wales.
The impact caused substantial damage to the property, costing more than £1,200 to make the building immediately secure and more than an estimated £7,000 to fully repair it.
Morgan was then taken inside by neighbors following a confrontation with her male passenger.
Prosecutor Olivia Samuel told Swansea Magistrates’ Court that police had been called on Christmas Eve to reports of a vehicle that had been driven through the wall of a flat, reports Wales Online.
When they arrived, they discovered the vehicle crashed into the wall.
Morgan had been identified as the driver of the vehicle, but had been taken away from the site due to a “male passenger being abusive to the defendant.”
She submitted to a road side breath test where her alcohol level was found to be 105 micrograms of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath. The legal limit is 35.
Ms Samuel said police then learned that Morgan was only allowed to drive an automatic vehicle, not a manual one and had no insurance.
In a victim impact statement read to the court, the resident of the property said she now felt unsafe in the property, particularly if her family called or were staying over.
She told how she now feels afraid to be in the bedroom which was damaged, which was her “safe space where I could feel calm and relaxed”.
She added: “I feel I have to leave a car in front of the house now as a safety cushion. I struggle with my mental health and this had made it much worse.”
Mark Davies, defending, described Morgan to the court as a young girl with no previous convictions.
But he referred to her pre-sentence report as “one of the most complicated I have seen”, that “explains how a young lady completely changed as a person…to a person that committed such a serious offence”.
I have acknowledged the significant damage to the property as the main aggravating factor, and added “she should not have been driving that vehicle at that time”.
The pre-sentence report also raised concerns about Morgan’s mental health.
Mr Davies added: “She has been through a lot of things in her life. She is holding it together now [in the dock] but it was not when I told her she was at risk of prison”.
He said she was now living with her father and “going forward there are a lot of positives.”
He added: “Sometimes people make terrible mistakes and they can be lucky there are no more serious consequences.”
Morgan, of Tumble, pleaded guilty to driving while above the drink drive limit, using a vehicle without insurance, driving otherwise than in accordance with a license and driving without due care and attention.
Chair magistrate Gillian Davies said: “We have considered all the information provided to us and note your previous clean character and remorse.
“However, we feel this incident crosses the custody threshold. You had an extremely high reading of alcohol.
“The accident you caused leaving the road and coming into collision with a flat was a traumatic and inconvenient one for the resident involved.
“You knew you were over the limit and still drove. In fact, the whole incident could have been considerably worse. You could have killed someone or yourself. You had only just passed your tests and had no insurance.”
Morgan was sentenced to ten weeks in custody, suspended for 15 months.
She was also ordered to attend 20 rehabilitation activity requirements and a nine month mental health treatment requirement.
In addition she was banned from driving for three years, ordered to pay £400 compensation, £85 court costs and a surcharge of £128, making a total of £613 owed to the court.
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.