Kate Ritchie torn apart by drink driving victim’s mum after blowing over limit

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A mother whose daughter was killed by a drunk driver has lashed out at Kate Ritchie after she was caught driving over the limit.

Judy Lindsay lost her own daughter Hayley, 20, when her drunk boyfriend crashed his car while sitting in the back seat on a night out on May 16, 2009.

Ms Lindsay said the former Home and Away star had no excuse, even though she was just over the 0.06 limit, as the actress and radio host once hailed as “Australia’s sweetheart” had to set an example.

“Kate Ritchie is not the person I thought she was,” she told the Daily Mail Australia, adding that she was “shocked” when she read the news of the 44-year-old’s arrest.

“I mean, come on, she should know better.”

Kate Ritchie was caught driving under the influence in Sydney's eastern suburbs on Monday when she was stopped for a random breath test

Kate Ritchie was caught driving under the influence in Sydney’s eastern suburbs on Monday when she was stopped for a random breath test

Judy Lindsay (right) lost her daughter Hayley, 20, (left) when her drunk boyfriend crashed his car while she was sitting in the back seat.  She lashed out at Ritchie for her positive test

Judy Lindsay (right) lost her daughter Hayley, 20, (left) when her drunk boyfriend crashed his car while she was sitting in the back seat.  She lashed out at Ritchie for her positive test

Judy Lindsay (right) lost her daughter Hayley, 20, (left) when her drunk boyfriend crashed his car while she was sitting in the back seat. She lashed out at Ritchie for her positive test

Ms Lindsay, whose life will never be the same after receiving a phone call informing her that Hayley was dead, is determined to prevent other families from driving under the influence of alcohol.

She said celebrities who break the law undermine efforts to prevent Australians from risking their lives and the lives of others on the road.

“I know it’s a low range, but it’s still drink-driving. We have rules because people die and you can’t make excuses for it,” she said.

How many young people grew up watching Kate Ritchie on TV? She can’t do that kind of thing because it sets such a bad example.

‘Hasn’t she learned? No one is above the law as long as people keep dying.”

Ever since she got the call from paramedics, no parent wants to hear when Hayley (pictured) died in 2009, Ms. Lindsay is determined that her family shouldn't have to go through what hers did

Ever since she got the call from paramedics, no parent wants to hear when Hayley (pictured) died in 2009, Ms. Lindsay is determined that her family shouldn't have to go through what hers did

Ever since she got the call from paramedics, no parent wants to hear when Hayley (pictured) died in 2009, Ms. Lindsay is determined that her family shouldn’t have to go through what hers did

The crash site where Hayley died.  She sat in the backseat and was killed while her friends escaped with minor injuries

The crash site where Hayley died.  She sat in the backseat and was killed while her friends escaped with minor injuries

The crash site where Hayley died. She sat in the backseat and was killed while her friends escaped with minor injuries

How Judy Lost Her Little Girl To Drunk Driving

Judy Lindsay lost her daughter Hayley, 20, when her drunk boyfriend crashed his car while sitting in the back seat on a night out on May 16, 2009.

At 11:34 PM, she got the call that every parent dreads.

‘An ambulance attendant asked me if I was Hayley’s mother, I said yes, the lady said Hayley had a very serious car accident.

‘I said is she okay, and the lady said, no unfortunately we were unable to resuscitate her.

“I went straight to the scene of the accident, I stood on the side of the road with Hayley’s body in disbelief that this happened.

“I live with the knowledge that Hayley was scared and wanted to get out of the car, but he wouldn’t stop. He took Hayley’s life in his hands and threw it away.’

Ritchie, 44, apologized for her “bad decision” after stopping behind the wheel of a blue Subaru station wagon in Pagewood, south Sydney, around 2:45pm Monday.

She tested positive and was immediately arrested and taken to the Maroubra Police Station, where the result was confirmed at 0.06 BAL.

“Recently I did a random breath test. Although it was a low level, the test came back positive,” the radio star wrote on Instagram.

“I made a bad decision and I no doubt understand the gravity of my actions. I am really sorry.’

Ms. Lindsay shared how her life changed forever when she received a phone call at 11:34 pm 23 years ago.

‘(The caller) asked me if I was Hayley’s mother, I said yes, the lady said Hayley had a very serious car accident.

‘I said is she okay, and the lady said, no unfortunately we were unable to resuscitate her.

“I went straight to the scene of the accident, I stood on the side of the road with Hayley’s body in disbelief that this happened.

“I live with the knowledge that Hayley was scared and wanted to get out of the car, but he wouldn’t stop. He took Hayley’s life in his hands and threw it away.’

Ritchie was fined $600 on the spot and banned from driving for three months.

Ritchie's drink-driving comes at a bad time as she negotiates a new contract with Nova, after taking part in the 2013 driving time show alongside Tim Blackwell (left) and former host Marty Sheargold.  Current co-host Joel Creasy on the right

Ritchie's drink-driving comes at a bad time as she negotiates a new contract with Nova, after taking part in the 2013 driving time show alongside Tim Blackwell (left) and former host Marty Sheargold.  Current co-host Joel Creasy on the right

Ritchie’s drink-driving comes at a bad time as she negotiates a new contract with Nova, after taking part in the 2013 driving time show alongside Tim Blackwell (left) and former host Marty Sheargold. Current co-host Joel Creasy on the right

Her former husband – ex-rugby league star Stuart Webb – was caught drink-driving five times between 2012 and 2019 when the couple broke up.

Ritchie’s drink-driving comes at a bad time as she negotiates a new contract with Nova, after taking part in the 2013 driving time show alongside Tim Blackwell and former host Marty Sheargold.

Well-placed radio sources say the former Home and Away star’s future is “uncertain” and she could be replaced.

She ignored the media near her home when she was seen for the first time since she was arrested and refused to answer questions about her or her future.

EXCLUSIVE: Why Kate Ritchie ‘could lose a $1 million radio job’: Nova searches for a ‘cheaper replacement’ as Home and Away star is caught drink-driving on the eve of her highly anticipated TV comeback

After nearly a decade hosting Nova’s popular drive show, Kate Ritchie’s time on the radio network could be over.

Well-placed radio sources say the future of the former Home and Away star – who joined the show in 2013 along with Tim Blackwell and former host Marty Sheargold – is “uncertain” as she and her management enter contract renegotiations.

Her hopes for a new deal were dealt a huge blow when she was caught drink-driving in Sydney’s eastern suburbs.

Prolonged absences have been cited by an insider as one of the black spots against Ritchie

Prolonged absences have been cited by an insider as one of the black spots against Ritchie

Prolonged absences have been cited by an insider as one of the black spots against Ritchie

The former Home and Away star was stopped by police at 2:45pm last Monday for a random breath test in her blue Subaru station wagon on Heffron Rd in Pagewood.

Ritchie, 44, tested positive by the side of the road and was immediately arrested and taken to the Maroubra Police Station where she underwent a secondary breath analysis that yielded a positive reading of 0.06 – just over the legal limit.

A police spokesman told the Daily Mail Australia: ‘She was given a notice of infringement for the offense of driving with a prescribed low alcohol concentration and issued a notice of suspension of the license.’

Ritchie is said to have been fined $600 on the spot and given a three-month driving ban.

She ignored the media near her home when she was seen for the first time since she was arrested and refused to answer questions about her or her future.

The incident took place while the veteran star is on three-week leave from her show, following a string of extended vacations in recent years.

The recent lengthy absences from the airwaves have been cited by an industry insider as one of the black spots in Ritchie’s name, along with her excellent salary package that has steadily grown over the years to an estimated $1 million.

At some point in 2020, Ritchie took seven consecutive weeks off her late afternoon shift, which one radio figure said was “unheard of.”

A spokesperson for Nova dismissed speculation that Ritchie would be replaced, insisting that she “worked” with her management to balance her radio duties with a planned “return to her acting roots.”

Ricki-Lee Coulter (pictured) is currently filling in for Ritchie and has been named as her most likely successor if Nova chooses to complete her tenure with the network

Ricki-Lee Coulter (pictured) is currently filling in for Ritchie and has been named as her most likely successor if Nova chooses to complete her tenure with the network

Ricki-Lee Coulter (pictured) is currently filling in for Ritchie and has been named as her most likely successor if Nova chooses to complete her tenure with the network

The former soap star, who is also a judge on the upcoming season of Australia’s Got Talent on Channel Seven, presents Nova’s drive show with Blackwell and relative newcomer Joel Creasy, who replaced Sheargold in 2020.

Ricki-Lee Coulter is currently Ritchie’s replacement and has been named as her most likely successor if Nova chooses to complete her tenure with the network.

Coulter would cost the station about $300,000 a year, a source said, making it a much cheaper option as Nova is reportedly trying to cut its budget.

Nova’s national drive show is estimated to have an annual budget of about $4 million, but is beaten in the ratings by Will and Woody of KIIS FM, hosted by the popular duo of Will McMahon and Woody Whitelaw, each getting about $500,000. .

Ritchie originally joined Nova in 2008 as a breakfast host with Merrick Watts and Tim Ross.

She quit that job in 2010 for a return to acting, but later joined the drive team in 2014.

Flanked by Blackwell and Sheargold, the show won three Australian Commercial Radio Awards: Best Networked Program in 2015 and Best On-Air Team in 2016 and 2017.

Sheargold retired in 2020 for a solo post on The Marty Sheargold Show on Triple M.

In the most recent surveyKate, Tim and Joel’s audience in Sydney grew 0.4 percentage points to an overall share of 9.7 percent.

The program came in third behind Byron Webb on Smooth FM (10 percent) and Will and Woody on KIIS (10.7 percent).

Daily Mail Australia has reached out to Ritchie’s representatives for comment.

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