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France - Drunk, Drugged and Behind the Wheel


Visitors: 195

August 16, 2008

Perhaps this short post should be tagged from the beginning as opinion. But surely nobody could disagree that what follows was from the moment the main protagonist turned the ignition key, a combination of a deadly cocktail and sheer stupidity.

More details have now been released about a tragic accident that occurred in Allouagne in northern France last weekend, which left a 38-year-old man critically injured and in a coma, and his three-year-old son dead.

It happened in the early evening as a young woman was driving back to her parents. According to eyewitnesses, the 20-year-old motorist appeared to lose control of her car and cut down the bicycle of the small boy - killing him on the spot - and then hit his father who was walking alongside him.

A heartbreaking incident under any circumstances, but it made the headlines here in France because the woman was not only drunk at the wheel of the car, but she also admitted later that she had been smoking cannabis the night before.

Tests by police afterwards revealed that she had a level of more than 2.17 grammes of alcohol per litre in her blood - the legal limit in France is 0.5 grammes per litre.

She too was injured in the accident and taken to a nearby hospital in serious condition. Investigators said she probably wasn't wearing a seat belt at the time. The woman herself doesn't even recall getting into her car.

But the full story of her complete and total irresponsibility doesn't end there - as difficult as at it might be to believe.

When police were able to question her later in the week, the woman apparently also confessed to having been in the process of writing a text message at the moment of impact!

Her memory perhaps too short to remember getting behind the wheel of the car, but apparently sufficiently alert to retain exactly what she was doing immediately before she destroyed a life.

Johnny Summerton is a Paris-based broadcaster, writer and journalist. For more on what's making the headlines here in France, log on to his site at


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