Couple shocked after drink driver ploughed into front garden

An incident involving a drink driver has left Thorpe Marriott residents Lyn and Mike Howes shaken and concerned about the speed of cars travelling along Drewray Drive.

At around 3pm on Wednesday, February 4 a female driver came off the road and ploughed into their mature garden on the corner of Priorswood, taking out plants, bushes and snapping a substantial tree in half.

The incident happened while Mike was unwell and in bed at the back of the house.

“Mike is hard of hearing, but he heard a thud and assumed it was me coming back from work,” explained Lyn. “We now realise this must have been the noise of the car hitting the tree.

A neighbour from across the street saw the whole thing and called Lyn, who works as a community support worker, to tell her to come home.

They told Lyn how the car had come up the curb and clipped the next door neighbour’s garage and then careered across the garden into the tree. The driver then tried to make their escape by driving over a waist-height hedge. Fortunately, debris from the hedge forced them to stop halfway up the road and try to remove them, by which time the neighbour, who wishes to remain anonymous, was able to run after them, get hold of the car keys and call the police.

“We were so lucky that they clipped the neighbours garage, as otherwise they would have gone straight into our lounge,” said Lyn, who has lived there for eight years. “The tyre tracks show that they were just inches away from the window.

“Luckily I was only in Hellesdon when I got the call from my neighbour and was able to come straight home.

“The garden was a complete mess, with mud and branches everywhere. The tree, which was as tall as the house, was gone.

“My mind was everywhere but I just kept thinking what if Mike had been out there, because he wouldn’t have heard her coming. She is so lucky no one was walking there, especially as it was around the time when children are walking home from school.”

The police arrived on the scene quickly following the neighbour’s call and the driver was arrested following a positive breathalyser test.

“Naturally we are shocked and upset at what has happened, but our main reason for highlighting this is that hopefully something will finally get done after years of people complaining about speeding through Drewray Drive,” added Lyn.

“There are lots of traffic calming measures on Kingswood Avenue and Pendlesham Rise, but none on Drewray Drive or Long Dale.”

A Norfolk County Council spokesman commented: “Traffic calming can be useful on residential streets, but it’s not universally popular, particularly on roads like this – a main route into an estate. And, with public money under so much pressure, we are having to target our spending on places where people have been killed or serious injured.
“We would also like to highlight that drinking and driving is one of the most dangerous things drivers can do. It puts their own lives and safety – and that of other road around them – at huge risk, no matter what the surrounding traffic measures might be.”

Lyn and Mike, who enjoy gardening and work hard to keep it tidy, are now in the process of getting quotes from a landscape gardener to pass on to their home insurance company. They are hopeful that the driver’s insurance will cover restoring their garden and are anticipating a long drawn out process before it is finally back to its former glory.

Norfolk Police have released the following statement: “Louise Chitty, a 41-year-old woman from Pyehurn Mews in Taverham, has been charged with driving a vehicle when over the legal alcohol limit, in connection with an incident on Drewray Drive in Thorpe Marriott on Wednesday 4 February. She has been bailed to appear at Norwich Magistrates Court on Thursday 19 February.”

Lyn and Mike Howes. PICTURE: Smile for Me Photography

Lyn and Mike Howes.
PICTURE: Smile for Me Photography

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