Two young boys had a lucky escape after one of them released the handbrake of their mother's car, causing it to roll down a hill and smash into a fence.
While Antonia Nixon will be facing a costly claim on her car insurance following the incident, police said that they will not be bringing criminal charges - in spite of it being illegal to leave children alone in a vehicle.
Miss Nixon, 42, of Hartlepool, had left four-year-old Jay and his brother Liam, two, in the car while she went into a nearby shop to buy flowers.
While she was gone, Jay released the handbrake of the Vauxhall Zafira, which immediately rolled 180ft down a busy street before hitting a fence and rolling over. The boys suffered only minor cuts and bruises in the crash.
Miss Nixon said: "I was only gone for a minute. When I came outside the shop, I thought I had gone mad, because the car wasn't there. Then I started to panic.
"I thought someone had stolen it with the kids inside. I just stood there in shock, for about 20 seconds, looking up and down for the car. Then I looked down the road and saw the car, and I knew what had happened."
© Press Association 2009