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Driver jailed over 100mph East Lancashire horror crash
A BANNED drink-driver who crashed head-on into a pregnant teacher’s car at 100mph has been jailed.
Andrew Hebson, 36, of St Mark’s Road, Blackburn, was overtaking traffic at twice the speed limit in his Peugeot 206.
But he smashed into four-month pregnant Nadine Mercière’s Renault Clio as she headed home from work in the opposite direction.
Her car was left a crumpled wreck but, amazingly, the 31-year-old Rishton teacher and her unborn child survived the horrific collision in Belmont Road, near Abbey Village.
Mrs Mercière suffered no more than bruises above and below her belly caused by the seatbelt.
After the case she hit out at Hebson's 20-month sentence and said he was 'lucky she was still alive'.
The crash happened on Friday, November 27, - Hebson's 36th birthday. When he was arrested, he had cannabis in his pocket which he said was a ‘birthday present’. He was also over the drink drive limit, and banned from driving.
At Preston Crown Court, Hebson was sentenced to a total of 20 months in prison after pleading guilty to dangerous driving, drink driving, driving while banned, criminal damage and cannabis possession. He was disqualified from driving for a further four years, with extended re-test requirements.
Mrs Mercière was cut out of the crumpled wreckage and taken to hospital with the emergency services fearing the worst.
But she was released a couple of days later after both herself and her unborn child were given the all-clear.
The French teacher at Little Lever Specialist Language College, Bolton, said: “The first thing I thought about was whether the baby was still alive. What saved my life was the airbags and I’ve been incredibly lucky.
“I don’t remember the crash, just seeing the car coming towards me, overtaking other cars. I couldn’t avoid it and lost consciousness at the moment of impact.
“The sentence is shorter than we expected, but at least he’s going to jail. I think he’s lucky we are still alive.
“It would have been worse for him if he’d killed me and the baby.”
Her husband Fabian, who teaches at Pleckgate High School, Blackburn, was unhappy with the sentence: “To be completely honest, I don’t think it is long enough. We’ve been very lucky that Nadine and the baby were not harmed.
“He’s committed five offences, tried to run away from the police and nearly killed someone. It’s not enough, if I’d have been the judge he would have got five years.
“He’s paying for what he’s done and all I hope is that it won’t happen again because next time he could kill someone.
“He was electronically tagged, so it’s not the first time. The guy is 36, not a teenager who has had too much to drink at a birthday party."
Mr Mercière said the couple’s first baby was due on May 3, adding: “Nadine has been back to work and will probably do another month as long as she can cope. She’s tired, but that’s normal.
“What she does remember is everything after the crash, waiting in the cold on her own inside the car.
”She’s quite happy now and started driving again soon afterwards.
"Some people who leave it longer never get back in a car again.”
The couple moved to England in 2006 to pursue teaching careers. They were moving house on the day of the crash.