Woman convicted of driving dangerously outside Crawley school
A Crawley woman has been sentenced for driving dangerously outside a school.
Leanne Andre, 43, of Friars Rookery, Crawley, pleaded not guilty to driving dangerously in October 2014 when she appeared at Crawley Magistrates Court on 11 June, but was found guilty.
Andre received a 12-month Community Order of 90 hours unpaid work, was ordered to pay total court costs of £810 and has been disqualified from driving for 12 months as well as then having to take an extended driving test.
The incident happened in Gales Drive, Three Bridges, on the afternoon of 23 October last year.
Andre had parked her vehicle illegally in the bus stop directly outside Three Bridges primary school whilst picking up her children from the school. The local Three Bridges community policing team was patrolling the area at the time in response to numerous reports of dangerous parking near the school at opening and closing times.
They put a notice on the windscreen of Andre’s car pointing out that it was parked illegally.
Upon Andre’s return to her car a PCSO approached her explaining why the notice had been issued. She responded by directing verbal abuse at him, and drove off. A Police Constable asked her to stop but instead she accelerated towards the officer, swerving just to avoid contact, and continued gaining speed as she drove away, giving no consideration to the parents and children who were waiting, as she claimed she was in a rush.
Officers had the registration number and description of the car and subsequently went to Andre’s home nearby to arrange to inteview her under caution.
PC Jo Millard said; “Andre’s actions on that day were irresponsible and dangerous. We will take action against offenders driving in such an anti-social and dangerous manner.”
No doubt this would have been a full-page spread in the Daily Mail, coupled with earnest coverage on Radio 4, if Andre had abused and threatened police officers while on a bike. ‘Do cyclists have entitlement issues?’ ‘Is it time for cyclists to wear number plates to curb their bad behaviour?’ ‘Do they need to wear hi-viz identification vests?’
But as it is, it will pass completely under the radar, just another example of everyday traffic violence that passes without comment.
But this isn’t even why this story caught my attention – I spotted where Andre lives. Friars Rookery. Which is…
… 300 metres from Three Bridges Primary School.
It is, literally, just down the road – so close the police officers could presumably see her turning back into her own street.
Crawley is a New Town, meaning most of the main roads in it are lovely and wide. Cycling infrastructure (sometimes of reasonable quality, mostly of dubious quality) did arrive on the major roads, but unfortunately residential distributors like Gales Drive didn’t get any.
No continuous footways across the side roads either, meaning young children walking to school have to ‘take responsibility’ for crossing side roads while dangerous and aggressive drivers like Andre emerge out of them to take their own children to school.
Slow clap, Britain.