Fatal crash driver gets five years
THE man responsible for a crash that killed Suffolk Park man Ben Donohoe and badly injured another at Byron Bay last year could be out of prison in a little over four years, after he was sentenced at the Lismore District Court yesterday.
Mr Donohoe’s mother, Yvonne, said she was waiting to hear whether prosecutors would launch an appeal against the sentence after Judge James Black sentenced Shane Richard Millwood, 27, to five years prison with a minimum non-parole period of four years.
Millwood pleaded guilty to one count of aggravated dangerous driving occasioning death and one count of aggravated dangerous driving occasioning grievous bodily harm.
The sentence, which could have been up to 14 years on the first charge and 11 years on the second, came after the court was told Millwood, at the time of the crash, had held a provisional licence, banning him from driving after drinking but had a blood alcohol reading of ,0.176 and cannabis in his system.
The court heard Millwood was travelling at double the 50kmh speed limit on Bangalow Road when his car hit a tree just past the junction of Old Bangalow Road.
It also heard Millwood had been charged with mid-range drink driving in 2003 after being picked up speeding on the same road with passengers in the car.
Millwood yesterday expressed his remorse, accepting responsibility for his actions and telling Mr Donohoe’s family and Dylan Garft, who had been hitch-hiking with Mr Donohoe and was badly injured in the crash, he never intended to harm anyone.
“I feel sorry every day for myactions and now I have to pay the price,” Millwood told the court.
Mr Garft and Ben Donohoe’s mother, Yvonne, both said they were disappointed with the sentence.
Both had read victim impact statements to the court explaining how the crash had consumed their lives.
Ms Donohoe said she lived within a web of grief.
There were constant reminders of her lost youngest son, such as driving down Bangalow Road or seeing a P-plate; searingmemories, such as the reaction of her eldest son when she had to tell him of Ben’s death, and ongoing suffering throughout her family.
Ms Donohoe said her mother – Ben’s grandmother – could still not mention his name without breaking down into tears.
“Our family unit has been violated and fractured,” she told the court.
Mr Garft said he lived with intense physical and emotional pain from it.