THREE years ago a young mother was faced with a scene you would not wish upon your worst enemy.
A court heard a Gladstone woman and her family were asleep in their home when the woman's three-year-old child found his way inside the family car and locked himself in.
Hours later the mother awoke ,only to realise he was missing.
After a search of the house she found his lifeless body in the vehicle; a victim of heatstroke.
Life hasn't been the same for the young mother since, and it was the lingering aftermath of this tragic and devastating event that lead to her serious spree of offending, a court has heard.
Kristy Lee Facer, 32 pleaded guilty in the Gladstone Magistrates Court on Tuesday to four charges; including one count of dangerous operation of a vehicle while adversely affected by an intoxicating substance, fail to stop, driving under the influence of liquor and fail to comply with duties of being the driver involved in a crash.
The court heard on February 20 Ms Facer, who also has a 16-year-old daughter with a child of her own, was drinking at her neighbour's house.
Ms Facer was not a big or regular drinker, the court heard, but had taken to consuming alcohol that afternoon after an argument with her daughter, over her child.
Police prosecutor sergeant Merilyn Hoskins said Ms Facer was drinking with her neighbour when her sister and her sister's partner also turned up to join in.
After an afternoon of drinking double strength pre-mixed Jim Beams, Ms Facer's sister asked if she could have a lift home at about 7pm.
Ms Facer believed by this time she was okay to drive, and the trio, including Ms Facer's dog, piled into the car.
The court heard about 7.30pm on her way back home, Ms Facer was spotted by police "fishtailing" and "skidding" on Toolooa St.
Ms Hoskins said the white sedan vehicle was fishtailing so severely it looked like Ms Facer was trying to do a u-turn.
Police, now behind Ms Facer, sounded their sirens, indicating her to pull over.
However, this only encouraged Ms Facer to speed up and accelerate up the street, with police giving chase.
Ms Facer then began driving on the wrong side of the road, causing two vehicles close by to brake.
The court heard at one point there was a near head-on collision with another vehicle, as Ms Facer drove directly towards a vehicle in the right lane.
She swerved at the last minute narrowly avoiding the car, and took a sharp turn right at the corner of Coon and Toolooa St.
The white sedan ploughed into the traffic light post, causing it to fall, the court heard.
Witnesses on scene of the crash told police they saw Ms Facer exit the car and take off up the hill adjacent to the traffic light.
The court heard she ran back home, holding her dog, just 500m from where the crash happened.
When police found Ms Facer, she told them she couldn't remember anything from the crash and admitted she had been heavily drinking.
She was arrested and taken back to the station where she returned a blood alcohol content reading of .177%.
Defence lawyer Cassandra Ditchfield made it clear her client was not a regular drinker, and the heavy drinks she had consumed had basically gone straight to her client's head.
She said her client was dealing with the emotional stress of the fight she had with her daughter, and was still coping from the tragic events that took place three years ago.
She said her client's behaviour could be fully attributed to the alcohol consumption, and it should be noted her client did not remember committing any of the offences as a result.
In Ms Facer's sentencing, Gladstone magistrate Melanie Ho made a point of noting the young mother's hard past.
She also noted Ms Facer was self-rehabilitating and had enrolled herself in counselling to help with her mental health.
Ms Facer was issued with an 18-month probation period, disqualified from driving for two years and six months and ordered to pay $337 in restitution to police who paid for her car's tow.
Ms Ho did not record a conviction, in the hope that it would aid the young woman in getting her life back on track as well as gaining employment to support her daughter.
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