6:00pm Saturday 16th June 2012
By Thom Airs
A FORMER college lecturer has escaped a driving ban despite refusing to provide a breath test after a car crash.
Maureen Thomas was in her Citroen Xsara with her ex-husband when it hit an oncoming car on the A415 near Millets Farm at Frilford.
The 53-year-old, who is the registered keeper of the vehicle, told police she was not driving but refused to say if her ex James Naughton was at the wheel.
Thomas, of Longfields, Marcham, admitted failing to provide a specimen for analysis at Oxford Magistrates’ Court and was fined and given penalty points on her licence.
Prosecutor Sarah McKay said there was no evidence to prove Thomas, who was picked up by police as she walked away from the scene at about 7pm on March 22, was driving.
She said: “The Crown are not in a position to say that Maureen Thomas was the driver or whether it was the male person.
“Police officers saw her walk around the corner on to the A338 heading towards Frilford Heath.
“They spoke to her, suspected that she was the female who had been in the Citroen Xsara, could smell alcohol on her breath and her speech was slurred.
“She was arrested and at Abingdon Police Station was required to provide a sample of breath, but she refused and stated that it was because she was not driving.”
Crash victim Sarah Holloran was driving her 15-year-old son home from school when she was hit head-on by Thomas’s car.
She said after the court case: “I’m just incredulous that the two of them cannot say who was driving and can escape without a driving ban. It seems like a bit of a loophole.”
Martin Bourne, defending, said his client taught IT and cookery to people with learning difficulties for 10 years before becoming a carer at the Home Farm Trust in Milton two years ago.
Previously she taught at Abingdon and Witney College for a decade.
Mr Bourne said Thomas knew Mr Naughton, whom she divorced nine years ago, was a heavy drinker and had consumed alcohol on the day but thought he was “capable” of driving.
Mr Bourne said the mother-of-three also thought she was under the limit, despite having had a drink that day.
She was fined £150, a £15 victims’ surcharge and £85 costs. She was also given 10 penalty points on her driving licence.
© Copyright 2001-2013 Newsquest Media Group