Driver ‘blacked out’ before house crash

The Oxford Times: John Baker, 73, at his home last August, after a car smashed through his fence into the side of his conservatory John Baker, 73, at his home last August, after a car smashed through his fence into the side of his conservatory

A TEENAGER said she “blacked out” before driving through a wooden fence and crashing into a conservatory at an elderly couple’s home, a court heard.

Banbury Magistrates’ Court was told that Cheryl Stokes, 19, then reversed out of the garden and drove off towards Shakespeare Drive, Bicester, on August 14 last year.

She drove through the rear fence at a bungalow belonging to grandparents John and Maureen Baker, 73 and 74 respectively, of Chaucer Close, who were in bed asleep when the incident happened at 11.45pm.

Yesterday, Stokes, of Hambleside, Bicester, admitted failing to stop after an accident and driving without due care and attention.

The following day police found Stokes’ damaged Mini car in the driveway of her home. She initially denied she had been involved, but later admitted she had been driving.

Prosecuting, Sarah Mackay said: “She (Stokes) gives her reason for failing to remain at the scene or report it to police, that she was afraid of losing her licence. She stated the reason she crashed is that she blacked out.

“The conservatory was completely destroyed. This is a bungalow and they were sleeping very close by when this occurred. The bedroom is next to the conservatory.”

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The court was also told Mrs Baker had suffered a stroke about four weeks after the crash, although Christopher Edwards, defending, said there was no medical evidence presented to the court to link the stroke to the crash.

Mr Edwards said Stokes had suffered headaches since 2012 and had tests, including a brain scan, at the John Radcliffe, but no cause was found. He said she had a row with her then boyfriend on the night in question.

“She started to drive off home and had one of her headaches. She can remember next to nothing of what happened but she accepts responsibility for what happened.”

He said Stokes was in a “state of shock” and drove off. He said days later Stokes wrote a letter to Mr and Mrs Baker to apologise.

Chairman of magistrates Ilene Bussell told Stokes they had considered sending her to prison. She said: “It was very wrong of you to have an accident and not stop and give details. That’s the most serious thing.”

Stokes was given nine points on her licence — which had been revoked last September after the blackout, however she is free to apply to get it back.

She was fined a total of £445, ordered to pay costs of £85 and victim surcharge of £34.

Afterwards, Mr and Mrs Baker’s daughter Lisa Thompson, 43, of Bicester, said the incident had been “life changing” for her parents.

She said: “This incident has been distressing to both myself and my mother and father “We are grateful no one was seriously hurt by the incident. If anyone had been in the conservatory it would have ended differently.”

Comments (2)

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9:05am Sat 22 Feb 14

Doctor69 says...

I bet the real reason she crashed then drove off was to much to drink. I would say she got away with it.
I bet the real reason she crashed then drove off was to much to drink. I would say she got away with it. Doctor69

9:15am Sat 22 Feb 14

Jojo2311 says...

I've known this couple for all my life - grew up with their daughter Lisa (would love to catch up)

Glad you're both OK on the whole after this John & Maureen! If this young lady 'blacks out' at random times, albeit rarely, should she really be allowed to drive? This accident could have been so much worse and could potentially happen again somewhere else. That probably sounds quite harsh, but it DID happen. It's not a personal attack on the driver as a person, simply a question on her capability to be 100% safe to drive with this medical problem. If it were me, I'd not drive in case I injured (or worse) someone else or myself. Property can be repaired/replaced, lives can't.
I've known this couple for all my life - grew up with their daughter Lisa (would love to catch up) Glad you're both OK on the whole after this John & Maureen! If this young lady 'blacks out' at random times, albeit rarely, should she really be allowed to drive? This accident could have been so much worse and could potentially happen again somewhere else. That probably sounds quite harsh, but it DID happen. It's not a personal attack on the driver as a person, simply a question on her capability to be 100% safe to drive with this medical problem. If it were me, I'd not drive in case I injured (or worse) someone else or myself. Property can be repaired/replaced, lives can't. Jojo2311

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