Nov 16, 2021

Drunk aged care worker avoids prison after driving into a group of cyclists

Drunk aged care worker drives into cyclists

The first Elaine Selwood, 47, knew of her criminal offence was when she awoke in the police watch-house unaware of how she came to be there.

Appearing before Queensland’s Wynnum Magistrates Court on Monday, the mother of four pleaded guilty to assaulting a police officer, driving while under the influence of alcohol, and driving without a license, according to a report in The Courier Mail.

Selwood, who was driving without a license and had a blood alcohol reading of 0.244 – five times the legal limit – drove through the group of cyclists as they crossed a pedestrian crossing early on the morning of August 8, the court heard.

Magistrate Zachary Sarra said, “But for the grace of god you didn’t kill someone.”

When police arrived at the scene, Selwood forcefully pushed an officer who was taking a statement from one of the cyclists. She was promptly arrested, police said.

Selwood had a history of drink driving. In 2004 she was found to be driving with a blood alcohol reading of 0.09, and in 2008 recorded driving with a reading of 0.141.

The police prosecutor proposed a three-month jail sentence would be appropriate, considering her drink-driving history and the risk to the community.

When Selwood woke in a police holding cell, she was “embarrassed and remorseful,” said defence solicitor Sarah Pascoe, according to a report in The Courier Mail.

Selwood told the court she had been under considerable stress at the time, and had been upset by being unable to visit her father, who is unwell, in Papua New Guinea during lockdowns at the time. She said she turns to alcohol in times of need.

“It is wrong. I am embarrassed and I feel stupid,” she told the court, according to The Courier Mail.

But the magistrate was clearly angry.

“You are lucky you are not charged with reckless driving causing death,” he said.

He said her offence was particularly “disturbing” considering her healthcare career.

Selwood was sentenced to two years’ probation.

She has been disqualified from driving for a further nine months, was fined $600, and ordered to pay $500 to the officer she assaulted.

Though spared a criminal conviction, Selwood will have a traffic conviction recorded against her.

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