Castlemaine drink-driver gets jail for crash

Sharan Holford leaves court yesterday.
Sharan Holford leaves court yesterday.

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A CASTLEMAINE woman who crashed her car into a power pole while drunk and driving at almost twice the speed limit, seriously injuring her passenger, has been sentenced to two years and four months’ jail.

In the Bendigo County Court yesterday, Sharan Holford, 46, pleaded guilty to negligently causing serious injury and other driving offences.

Prosecuting, Peter Jones said Holford was driving down Gingell Street just after 6pm on April 25 last year when she lost control of the car on a left-hand bend.

Mr Jones said the car hit a power pole with such force the pole came down across the road.

Holford’s male passenger suffered a fractured lumbar disc, ribs, eye socket and jaw in the crash. Mr Jones said police estimated that Holford was travelling at 97km/h in the 50km/h zone, a residential street.

A breath test showed Holford had a blood alcohol content of 0.118.

Holford’s defence counsel John O’Sullivan said his client had a long history of drug and alcohol abuse, which she was battling at the time of the incident.

Mr O’Sullivan said Holford had used drugs and alcohol as a way of coping with a series of traumatic events including the deaths of her husband and her brother.

“From the ages of 17 to 44 she has had about 40 appearances in the magistrates court, covering the full spectrum of offending,” he said.

“She has served a number of jail terms.”

The court heard Holford now suffered from liver and gastrointestinal problems, as well as an acquired brain injury, as a result of her drug and alcohol abuse.

“She is someone for whom making sensible decisions and thinking through consequences is more difficult than for someone else her age,” Mr O’Sullivan said.

But he said Holford was now on a stable methadone program and was attending Alcoholics Anonymous.

“She has always expressed a desire to deal with her ongoing problems and better herself,” Mr O’Sullivan said. “She is not in a downward spiral.”

Judge Wendy Wilmoth said she would be lenient with Holford because of her health problems.

Ms Wilmoth sentenced Holford to two years and four months’ jail, with a non-parole period of 16 months.