Jail for Wootton woman who collided with motorcyclist whilst driving on wrong side of road

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Alexandra McGarthland

A woman who collided with a motorcyclist whilst travelling on the wrong side of the A421 has been sentenced for causing serious injury by dangerous driving.

Alexandra McGarthland, 58, of Ellis Close, Wootton, was sentenced at Luton Crown Court on Wednesday (3 August) to two years in prison and was disqualified from driving for five years, requiring an extended test.

Police were called at around 8.05pm on 6 November 2021 to a report of a collision between a car and a motorcycle on the eastbound carriageway of the A421.

A motorcyclist was taken to hospital with life-threatening injuries and McGarthland was arrested on suspicion of causing serious injury by dangerous driving and driving over the prescribed limit after failing a roadside breath test.

She was then taken to hospital where evidential samples of blood were taken before she was taken into police custody.

The court heard how McGarthland was twice over the drink drive limit when she joined the A421 eastbound carriageway from the A600 in the wrong direction and collided head-on with the motorcyclist which left him with life-changing injuries.

In a personal statement read out in court, the victim said: “Initially I want to say that the consequences of the decision of Alexandra McGarthland to drive her car while under the influence will have an effect on her life, as well as mine, my family and my friends for the rest of our lives.

“As a result of her decision to drive that evening, my life has changed forever.

“I recall waking in the hospital and being told that I’d been involved in a collision. I recall an immense sense of guilt that I might have hurt somebody.

“I know that I came within an inch of losing my life on the 6 November.”

Her Honour Judge Tayton QC, who sentenced McGarthland said her actions carried a high level of culpability.

PC Ben Chance from the Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire and Cambridgeshire Roads Policing Unit, said: “This is an appalling example of the effect that alcohol has on a person’s ability to drive.

“The sheer fact that it didn’t end up being a fatal road traffic collision is a miracle.

“I am pleased with the sentence given, although it does not come close to rectify the suffering and future impact that this incident has had and will continue to have on the victim. However, I hope this does bring him closure on what has been a horrific experience for him.

“Drinking or drug taking impairs reaction times and the ability to think clearly. As a result, motorists who drive are under the influence are more likely to be involved in a serious or fatal collision.”