Drunk Chesterfield assistant headteacher crashed into two other cars

An assistant headteacher from Chesterfield lost control of her car while drunk - ploughing into two other cars, a court heard.

Tuesday, 12th October 2021, 9:52 am

Eleanor Ludlam, 44, smashed into a Kia Sportage head-on after swerving on the wrong side of the road - then “spun” multiple times before hitting a Ford Focus.

Two other drivers and a passenger were left with bruising, neck and back injuries following the crash on March 17 on Wingerworth’s Nethermoor Road.

One of the injured - a passenger in her sister’s car at the time - described being left “still shaking” three days after the collision and feeling “anxious and jumpy”.

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Eleanor Ludlam, 44, smashed into a Kia Sportage head-on after swerving on the wrong side of the road

In a statement read out in court she told how she had since put her car up for sale as she was now “too nervous” to drive.

Prosecutor Fatima Laher described how one of the injured drivers saw Ludlam get out of her car “looking dazed” as she sat on a wall.

Chesterfield Magistrates Court heard at the time of the accident Ludlam was assistant head at Stubbin Wood Special School in Shirebrook - however she had since lost her job.

After police arrived at the scene she was taken to Chesterfield Royal Hospital and a blood sample revealed Ludlam was nearly three times over the drink drive limit.

She gave a reading of 238 milligrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of blood.

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Magistrates were told that Ludlam, diagnosed with an anxiety disorder, had self-medicated with booze prior to the prang and was driving to the supermarket at the time to shop for dinner.

Her solicitor Jason Newall said Ludlam recalled changing the radio station in her car, adding: “The next thing she knew the airbags are activated.”

Mr Newall said in the days leading up to the crash Ludlam was struggling with anxiety and nerves and had slept “very little” for three days.

In a letter read out in court by Mr Newall Ludlam said the last 12 months had been “the most difficult part of my life” - suffering with anxiety and panic attacks.

However she added: “It doesn’t excuse the road traffic accident I caused.

“I wish to apologise to my partner, my parents, my family and friends for the shame and upset my actions have caused.”

Mr Newall said in November 2020 his client - working 80 hours a week at one stage - suffered a “breakdown”, was signed off work and had not worked since.

The solicitor said her job had now been “terminated” however he added: “She hopes she will be able to get back into education - a job she has loved and worked in for many years.

“But she acknowledges she needs to address problems with her mental health situation first.

“She regrets her actions and apologises for the inconvenience and trauma described by those involved in the accident.”

Ludlam, of Matlock Road, Ashover, admitted drink driving.

She was banned from driving for 25 months, made to pay a £200 fine, £85 court costs and a £34 victim surcharge.

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