A WOMAN was high on drugs and more than two times over the legal blood alcohol limit when she crashed her car near Castlemaine and seriously injured two passengers.
Helen Martin, 44, was sentenced in the Bendigo Magistrates' Court on Wednesday after pleading guilty to five charges including dangerous driving causing serious injury.
Magistrate Patrick Southey said while Martin was "lucky" she did not kill anyone in the crash, the offending could be addressed through a community corrections order rather than jail.
"If this hasn't been a wake-up call, then nothing will be," Mr Southey said. "It's a lesson to all of us how it can all go wrong in the blink of an eye."
The court heard on the night of January 31 last year, Martin was drinking alcohol and taking MDMA while out with friends at Castlemaine's Theatre Royal.
Sometime after 10.30pm, Martin chose to drive her ute from Lyttleton Street towards Golden Point with her three friends in the car.
It was on Golden Point Road about 30 minutes later that Martin veered onto the wrong side of the road and crashed into a ditch.
Two of the passengers were ejected from the vehicle before the car came to a stop in a second ditch.
Two of the passengers were taken to The Alfred hospital in Melbourne for serious injuries, including fractured ribs and spinal issues.
The third passenger was taken to Bendigo Health after sustaining injuries including a head wound.
Martin underwent a preliminary breath test at the scene, which showed a blood alcohol reading of 0.089. An oral fluid test also showed the presence of methamphetamine.
Martin refused to be taken to Bendigo Health for treatment so she was instead taken to Castlemaine Health for a blood sample.
The sample showed that at the time of the crash, her predicted blood alcohol reading would have been 0.103.
Read more court:
Police found Martin's bag near the crashed car. There was cannabis and magic mushrooms located inside.
Martin attended the Castlemaine Police Station for a record of interview in April. The court heard she was remorseful as she made admissions to drinking and taking drugs before the crash.
A statement read out in court said one of the victims had zero lasting impacts from the crash. The victim wrote that she felt more resilient now than she did before the incident.
Two of the victims also attended the Bendigo Magistrates' Court on Wednesday to support Martin.
Defence lawyer Luke Docherty told the court Martin had issues with her mental health at the time of the crash, but she had since engaged with counselling services.
Mr Docherty said the 44-year-old had three children to whom she was the primary carer.
The defence lawyer submitted that given the circumstances around Martin's offending, and the fact the victims did not sustain catastrophic injuries, a community corrections order would be an appropriate sentence.
Mr Southey noted it was a "very serious" crash and it was "quite unusual" for the victims to be so forgiving.
The magistrate also noted that given Martin's mental health history, he believed it was not a suitable case for a tough sentence that sent a message to the community.
Martin was convicted and sentenced to a two-year community corrections order with 250 hours of unpaid community work.
Her licence was cancelled and she was disqualified from driving for two years.
Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can access our trusted content: