AN elderly victim has spoken of the devastating effects of a Christmas Eve crash caused by a drink driver.

Great-grandmother Mary Flecchia was driving a VW camper van when she was forced to veer off the road to avoid a car driven by Lenka Springthorpe, 43, a product manager for J.P. Morgan.

Her camper van flipped on to its side and Mary, 70, said she has had flashbacks and has lost confidence since the terrifying incident.

Springthorpe, who was almost three times the drink drive limit, has now been banned from driving for 28 months.

Mary, who lives in Bere Regis, was travelling towards Poole on the A35 when the accident took place.

She told the Daily Echo: "I was taking my friend to do the last of our Christmas shopping when, all of a sudden, I realised a white Audi was heading straight for me.

"I had to go off the road to avoid a serious crash and even then our wing mirrors hit each other, making a terrific bang.

"My camper van ended up on its side. I keep thinking about what could have happened and I keep crying."

Mary said she is speaking out in a bid to warn others about the perils of drink driving.

She said: "The road was busy and this could have led to a massive pile-up. People who drink drive don't think about the consequences and the effect they are having on other people.

"I have five grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren and this woman could have killed me by being three times over the limit at 2pm - it makes me so angry."

Mary said she bought her camper van following the death of her 96-year-old mother last year.

She added: "I have just done it up and was looking forward to spending time in it but now it looks like it's going to be a write-off."

Nicola Reece, prosecuting at Poole Magistrates' Court, said Springthorpe was travelling behind a vehicle driven by an off-duty police officer.

The officer noticed the Audi "veering across the central white lines". At one point, the vehicle crossed the double white lines in the centre of the road.

"It was his opinion that the driver of the Audi was looking for the opportunity to overtake," Ms Reece said.

"They reached a stretch at Bloxworth and the road straightened up.

"The [Audi] veered across the road into the opposite carriageway and hit the side of a van travelling in the opposite direction."

Springthorpe, of Denmark Road in Poole, had been in a "fragile emotional state" after a break-up when the crash took place, the court heard.

The court heard she had been drinking around two bottles of wine a day, and occasionally brandy too, in the time leading up to the collision, and had started drinking in the morning of Christmas Eve before getting behind the wheel.

Magistrates sentenced the defendant to a 12-month community order with 20 rehabilitation activity requirement days and 120 hours of unpaid work. She was also banned from the roads and ordered to pay costs.