SSRI Stories Note: The Physicians Desk Reference states thatantidepressants can cause a craving for alcohol and alcohol abuse. Also, the liver cannot metabolize the antidepressant and the alcohol simultaneously, thus leading to higher levels of both alcohol and the antidepressant in the human body.
'Drunk' woman drove along rail track in Mercedes then broke down in front of train
A drunk 40-year-old woman drove her Mercedes hundreds of yards along a railway line before her vehicle broke down as a train approached, a court heard today.
Published: 7:00AM BST 12 Jun 2009
Karen Angus' Mercedes on the train tracks Photo: PA
It was only by good fortune that the Metro train – containing 20 passengers – was on the opposite side of the track.
Karen Angus, an alcoholic mother-of-three, had drunk wine and taken antidepressants when she got behind the wheel of her car.
While crossing the Metro line at Fawdon in Newcastle, she managed to somehow drive onto the tracks on the night of February 24, 2009.
CCTV footage was shown to Newcastle Crown Court that showed Angus driving her silver coloured saloon 765 yards (700m) along the track from Fawdon towards Wansbeck Road Metro Station.
Prosecutor Debbie Breen told the court: "At about 11pm the Metro driver Alistair Joel saw headlights appear on the other side of the track.
"He slowed down and saw there was a motor vehicle on the track and applied the emergency breaks."
Having stopped 50 yards short of the car, the driver got out of his cab and walked down the track towards the car, whereby Angus wound down the window and told him: "I'm an alcoholic, My car won't start."
The police were immediately called and arrested Angus.
"When the defendant was interviewed by the police she said she had had a bad day," Miss Breen told the court.
"She had been prescribed new medication that day and she had mixed the medication with a bottle of wine.
"She couldn't remember driving and had no recollection of being on the track."
The incident caused disruption to the Metro network and passengers had to use a taxi service to travel between Kingston Park and Regent Centre while the recovery work went on.
Angus, of Kielder Way, Gosforth, Newcastle, admitted at an earlier hearing endangering the safety of persons conveyed on a railway and failing to give a specimen of breath.
Jamie Adams, defending, said Angus had suffered for a number of years from alcoholism and was on antidepressants.
"She has been drinking alcohol to massive excess and it is the combination of alcohol and antidepressants that led her to do what she did on this occasion," Mr Adams said.
"She was not trying to hurt anybody. Thankfully she has wonderful support from her family."
Judge David Wood sentenced Angus to 10 months' imprisonment, suspended for two years, and made her subject of a 12-month supervision order.
She was also banned from driving for three years.
"Luckily for you the Metro train was coming from the opposite direction on the other side of the track otherwise you wouldn't be here at all.
"It was in any view an extremely dangerous manoeuvre to do."
After the case, a spokesman for Metro operator Nexus said: "This was an extremely disturbing incident.
"Trains were running on the line at the time, and if there had been a collision people could have been seriously injured or even killed.
"The driver of the car showed complete disregard for the fact she had turned onto a railway line and put other people's lives in danger.
"The Metro driver saw the danger immediately and applied the train's brakes.
"It was fortunate that the vehicle ground to a halt on the tracks before it could get any further up the line.
"This was clearly a freak incident. However, it should act as a reminder to all motorists to take care and be mindful when they are approaching Metro level crossings."