Drink-driver on wrong side of road hit motorcyclist head-on in Bedfordshire crash

Alexandra McGarthland was sentenced for causing serious injury by dangerous driving and driving over the drink-drive limit.
Credit: Bedfordshire Police
Alexandra McGarthland, 58, was twice over the drink-drive limit, said police. Credit: Bedfordshire Police

A drink driver who hit a motorcyclist while travelling on the wrong side of the road has been jailed, after a court heard she came "within an inch" of killing him.

Alexandra McGarthland, 58, was twice over the drink-drive limit when she joined the A421 eastbound in Bedfordshire and hit the rider head-on, leaving him with life-changing injuries, said police.

At Luton Crown Court on Wednesday, she was sentenced to two years in prison and was disqualified from driving for five years, requiring an extended test, after admitting causing serious injury by dangerous driving and driving over the prescribed limit.

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

Police were called at around 8.05pm on 6 November, and took McGarthland, of Ellis Close, Wootton, into custody after she failed tests at the roadside and in hospital.

'My life has changed forever'

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.”

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.”

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