Woman pleads to gravity defying car crash

·3 min read

Editor's note: This story was first published on March 19, 2020. This version corrects a spelling error in the make of the car.

The aftermath of a Sarnia vehicle crash that pushed the boundaries of physics began to resolve itself in court.

Andrea Woolfrey, 55, was behind the wheel of a Nissan Altima when it found itself on the roof of a Christina St. home last summer. The car managed to go airborne three different times after Woolfrey missed a curve in the road.

Woolfrey, appearing in court by video, was emotional from the moment she came on screen. She listened as Crown Attorney Aniko Coughlan read in the facts that highlighted how the crash was set in motion.

The incident resulted from a series of events that began several blocks away at the Christina St. and Michigan Ave. intersection. Around 6:30 pm Woolfrey rear-ended a car in the left turn lane and got out to talk to the driver. When the driver said he was on the phone with police, Woolfrey got back in her car and sped off through a red light.

She took off north on Christina at a high rate of speed, the car’s computer later showing the Nissan reached nearly 140 km/h. But a curve in the road where Christina turns into Lakeshore Rd. brought the getaway to a terrifying halt.

Woolfrey went straight through the bend and smashed into the curb. This sent her car flying and severed a hydro pole. The Nissan kept moving and struck a pair of boulders which launched it into the air again.

Woolfrey then crashed and snapped a guidewire, propelling her vehicle on its third and final trip into the sky. Its landing spot this time was on top of a pickup truck in the driveway and then onto the roof of the house, where it slid partially back to the ground. The Nissan travelled 70 metres from the curb to its final resting place.

Woolfrey, who was not wearing a seat belt, was found in the backseat and taken to Bluewater Health. She became belligerent with hospital staff and said she’d been drinking. Officers noticed a heavy odor of alcohol on Woolfrey and planned to give her a breath test, but were called away over reports of a shooting.

But a few weeks later police did receive Woolfrey’s blood alcohol levels from bloodwork taken that night. They revealed a whopping .275 reading, well over three times the legal limit.

More bad news arrived for Woolfrey. Readings from the Nissan’s on-board computer showed her travelling 137 km/h just seven seconds before the crash. At the point of impact she’d only slowed to 120 km/h. Woolfrey never used her brakes in the final seven seconds.

Woolfrey pleaded guilty to counts of dangerous and drunk driving. She has a prior conviction for drunk driving in 2009. Coughlan and Woolfrey’s lawyer, Karl Toews, were unable to reach a joint position, meaning Justice Deborah Austin adjourned a decision on punishment.

Woolfrey will return for sentencing May 19. She's banned from driving in the meantime.

Alex Kurial, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Independent