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Community service for woman who left two passengers with life-changing injuries after crash

'Two people were injured, one has a brain injury, the other a spine injury, and their lives have been changed forever, all because you thought you were Ireland's answer to Lewis Hamilton'

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A Portadown woman who left two passengers seriously injured after ploughing through two hedges and colliding with a wall has been told she could have been in a different court.

The district judge told the 20-year-old: “Two people were injured, one has a brain injury, the other a spine injury, and their lives have been changed forever, all because you thought you were Ireland’s answer to Lewis Hamilton.”

Kirsty Kelly, of Westland Road, appeared for sentencing on two counts of causing grievous bodily injury by careless driving at Craigavon Magistrates’ Court on Friday.

Prosecution outlined that on November 15, at around 11pm, police received a report of a one vehicle collision on the Gilford Road, Portadown, which left a Vauxhall Corsa crashed into in a wall.

Officers arrived at the scene to find paramedics dealing with two passengers from the car.

They spoke to the defendant, who identified herself as the driver.

It appeared that the car had been travelling in the direction of Gilford when it went through a hedge, hit a vehicle and went through another hedge before colliding with the wall.

There were two passengers in the vehicle, one was left with two fractured vertebrae and the other with a fractured skull.

Kelly told police she had been following another car approaching a left hand bend and had been travelling at between 60 and 70mph but could not remember anything after that.

Defence barrister Aaron Thompson stated: “This was a bad collision given the level of injury to the two passengers. Ms Kelly works at a nursing home and has given up driving.

“This has had a great impact on her life as she has had to make other arrangements to get to work.”

District Judge Bernie Kelly said: “She has suffered nothing compared to those two passengers. She also alleges in the pre-sentence report that this was the result of a blackout. Does she have any prior condition?”

Mr Thompson replied: “She says she cannot remember the lead up to the accident, she has no prior condition but was on beta blockers for anxiety and depression.”

District Judge Kelly commented: “I have my own view of how this accident occurred.”

Mr Thompson stated: “As do the police, but the witnesses have given conflicting accounts of how this happened.”

District Judge Kelly said: “Ms Kelly, this is a collision which has had serious life-changing ramifications.

“Given that you hit a wall, that didn’t stop you, given that you hit a car, that didn’t stop you, given that you went through a hedge and ended up two doors down, what does that tell you?

“You were flying, for want of a better description. You are lucky as you could have ended up in a different court facing a completely different set of circumstances.

“Two people were injured, one has a brain injury, the other a spine injury, and their lives have been changed forever, all because you thought you were Ireland’s answer to Lewis Hamilton.”

Kelly was sentenced to 180 hours of community service and disqualified from driving for 12 months.

District Judge Kelly added: “I will be notifying Coleraine of your view that a blackout caused this accident and you will have to go through the necessary medical assessments before getting your licence back.”

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