Drink driving mum jailed after flipping car packed with 10 kids
June 8, 2012 - 2:59PM
Car flipped... Tanya Chilly. Photo: Joe Armao
A mother has been jailed for three months and given an 18-month community corrections order for drink driving with 10 children in her four-wheel-drive.
Three of the children, aged one to 10 years old, were seriously injured when Tanya Chilly lost control and rolled the Mitsubishi Pajero in Rockbank on August 5 last year.
Chilly was today sentenced in the Melbourne Magistrates Court to spend three months behind bars for the high-speed accident. On her release, she will have to serve an 18-month community corrections order.
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Magistrate Gerard Lethbridge said during sentencing that it was a "a difficult and tragic case", and Chilly's relationship with the father of the children had been violent and abusive.
He said Chilly had lived a life "enmeshed with alcohol and drugs".
Mr Lethbridge noted that Chilly had abstained from alcohol since January.
He said that she had "excellent" prospects for rehabilitation "provided you do not drink".
He balanced this against the need for punishment, denunciation and deterrence, he said.
Chilly, a mother of seven, had pleaded guilty to three counts of dangerous driving causing serious injury, nine counts of failing to ensure a child was restrained in the car, one count of driving unlicensed and one count of drink driving.
The court had heard that Chilly, 35, of Epping, had a blood alcohol level of .233 - more than four times the legal limit - when she crashed while nine of the children were unrestrained and sitting together on four seats.
It was her fourth drink driving conviction.
The court was earlier told that Chilly had swerved to avoid potholes on the dirt road when the car flipped on to the driver's side roof.
One child suffered a broken leg in the crash, another had internal chest injuries and a third had a broken arm.
Magistrate Lethbridge said the court was left with no alternative but to sentence her to a term of imprisonment.
He said the sentence was reduced because of her "seriously deprived social background", psychological state affecting her judgment, efforts at rehabilitation, remorse, plea of guilty, and the community interest in supporting her rehabilitation.
However, he noted the high number of children put at risk, the large amount of alcohol she had consumed, the long car trip putting the children at risk and her "relevant, serious and numerous" prior convictions for drink driving.
He cancelled Chilly’s licence and disqualified her from driving for 48 months and recommended she attend a road safety seminar.
The court had earlier been told that Chilly had spent the day drinking with the father of her seven children and his brother in a paddock, where the man lived.
She had driven the children to get some takeaway food as they were hungry and she did not want to leave them with two drunk men.