Woman convicted of drink driving after crash on M25

Mick Ferris

A Walthamstow woman has been found guilty of drink driving in connection with a collision on the M25 last year.

At around 2.20pm on Wednesday November 11, 2020, an officer from the Roads Policing team, en route to another incident, witnessed a collision involving two cars on the opposite carriageway of the M25.

Calls received from members of the public shortly afterwards stated that a white Lexus RX450 had flipped after hitting the central reservation between Junction 25 and Junction 26 at Waltham Abbey. It then collided with a black BMW X4.

Within ten minutes, the officer who witnessed the collision re-routed and arrived on scene. Additional response units closed the clockwise carriageway between both junctions to allow emergency services to tend to those injured and to prevent further collisions being caused by the debris.

A portion of the anti-clockwise carriageway was also closed to allow the air ambulance to land.

The driver of the Lexus, Raminta Stonkute, 34, of Fulbourne Road, E17, who had been knocked unconscious by the force of the collision, was taken to hospital for treatment. Her injuries were not deemed to be life-threatening or life-changing.

After failing a breath test, a blood sample was taken from her for processing.

Results showed that she had been driving while over double the legal limit for alcohol.

Stonkute was summonsed to answer a charge of drink driving and on Tuesday October 5, at a hearing at Chelmsford Magistrates’ court, was found guilty.

She was sentenced to 80 hours of unpaid work and disqualified from driving for 22 months. She was also ordered to pay a total of £795 in prosecution costs and victim surcharge.

Senior investigating officer for the case, Sergeant Will Wilsher of the Roads Policing team, said: “There will never be an excuse that can justify drink driving. Stonkute not only could have seriously injured herself, but could have caused serious injuries to her passenger and all those unfortunate enough to be in the path of her car.

“Despite a significant delay to obtaining a sample for testing of almost five hours, she was still over double the legal limit, driving at speed on a motorway.

“This collision, and the significant delay it caused to road users, could have easily been prevented.

“I’d like to thank all of those who called in with information at the time and those who waited patiently while we were on scene.

“My team and all of the emergency response teams who attend collisions work together to get our communities moving as soon as possible, while ensuring that everyone can get home safely afterwards. I can assure you that we will want to reopen roads as soon as possible, just as you do.

“If you find yourself stuck in traffic following a collision or road closure by emergency services, please remain inside your vehicle. If you move over to allow emergency vehicles through, please don’t move back out as often others will follow.

“Please also take into consideration any lane closures, as they’ll be there for a reason. Can you really justify blocking an ambulance from providing potentially life-saving treatment?

“If you witness a collision, particularly if a portion of road is then blocked, please don’t assume that someone else has called it in. Call us on 101 or 999 in an emergency. The more information you can provide, the better.”

Last month, The Safer Essex Roads Partnership (SERP) launched Vision Zero, the ambition to have ZERO road deaths and serious injuries on roads in the Essex, Southend and Thurrock council areas by 2040.

These targets cannot be achieved by SERP alone and they need your support.

To find out how you can help, visit www.saferessexroads.org/visionzero

Mick Ferris

Editor Email: mickferris@yellowad.co.uk