Behind bars |
Drink-driving mum jailed after livestreaming high-speed motorway crash in stolen Lexus
Mother-of-four Asta Vinksnaite (32) was jailed after leaving passenger with broken neck
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A drink-driving car thief who livestreamed a 100mph motorway crash has been jailed.
Mother-of-four Asta Vinksnaite will spend 11 months of her more than two-year sentence behind bars.
The 32-year-old was also handed a three-year ban from the roads.
A judge at Antrim Crown Court said Vinksnaite had been “prepared to put herself and others at risk of injury”.
The hearing was told she should be released by Christmas, and that the authorities hoped her “incarceration will be put behind her”.
The defendant, from Dunclug Gardens in Ballymena, admitted a number of charges including causing grievous bodily injury by careless driving with excess alcohol, aggravated vehicle taking causing grievous bodily injury, and causing damage.
Passenger Vytautas Mikulinas, from the Granville Road in Portadown, admitted aggravated vehicle taking causing injury and damage.
The 32-year-old was prosecuted on the basis he knew Vinksnaite, his ex-girlfriend, had been drinking and did not have permission to drive the Lexus she ultimately crashed.
He walked free, however, after the judge suspended his nine-month prison sentence for two years.
Police called to the M2 at Ballymena in the early hours of July 25, 2021, were confronted with a heavily damaged Lexus that had crashed into a barrier and then a concrete bridge.
Vinksnaite and Mikulinas were spoken to at the scene, and while neither confirmed who had been driving, both were found to be over the limit.
A backseat passenger was admitted to hospital with serious injuries including a broken neck, a broken collar bone, a broken shoulder, broken ribs, a broken wrist and a broken jaw.
He told the police they had all been drinking before getting in the car and he could remember little about the accident, other than that Vinksnaite had been “driving very fast and the car was going in circles”.
When she was interviewed by the police, the defendant admitted she was not insured.
She also estimated that she was travelling at 100mph prior to the crash.
She had been livestreaming herself driving before the accident, with around 300 people watching, some of whom pleaded with her to slow down before she eventually lost control.
The court was told that her actions were “not far short of (the threshold for) dangerous driving” and involved grossly excessive speed.
It was also revealed at the hearing that she has multiple motoring convictions.
Her first court appearance for drink driving came just two days before the devastating accident.
“She’s only too happy to drive illegally, and that’s a potential concern as it gives rise to the risk of serious injury,” said Judge Roseanne McCormick KC.
A defence lawyer said Vinksnaite was holding down a job and trying to build family relationships, and called for a combination order rather than a custodial sentence.
While Judge McCormick disagreed and jailed the drink driver, she imposed a longer than normal licence period to allow Vinksnaite time to address her “impulsive and dangerous behaviour.”