Two years' jail for teen crash driver
The driver, now aged 19 and who cannot be named, was described by sentencing Judge Colin Charteris as a ‘victim of his own foolishness’, with four lives lost because of the P-plater’s irresponsible behaviour at the time of the crash.
The youth had pleaded guilty to four counts of dangerous driving causing death.
Judge Charteris and the four victim’s grieving families all acknowledged yesterday ‘there are no winners’ in the devastating tragedy that killed Bryce Wells, Corey New, Mitchell Eveleigh and Paul Morris in October, 2006.
Excessive speed on a wet road by a P-plater driving above his 90km/h restriction, and beyond his ability, was the cause, although the judge took into account that two rear tyres were incorrectly fitted and their tread worn. “I accept he had a rush of blood and his behaviour was impulsive,” he said.
Seated impassively in the dock, the teenager did not flinch as the decision was handed down in a packed courtroom of the Lismore District Court, the judge sentencing him to a four-year custodial term, with a non-parole period of two years, making him eligible for release on January 29, 2011.
His sentence will be served in a juvenile facility, but under government legislati.on he is likely to be transferred to an adult jail when he turns 21 in April next year
There were racking sobs and some quick claps from the public gallery when the sentence was given – the chilling words from one mother cut through the courtroom – ‘you took my baby, you took my son’.
In his summary, Judge Charteris said the driver’s youth was a significant factor and he took regard of his own suffering, that his life had been changed dramatically as a result of the crash, and his remorse and psychological problems.
He was sure the parents of the four boys knew ‘what a terrible event’ it had been for him.
Judge Charteris said each loss of life was very significant and he must impose a penalty.
“Four young lives have been extinguished with terrible consequences for their very close families and to the community,” he said.
He said it was a difficult case where many people would say there was little to be gained by sending him to jail, and others who would think it should be a longer sentence.
There were sobs from his young friends in the courtroom, and for once the young man swiftly brushed away a tear with his hand.
Judge Charteris said the young man had impressed him greatly in the way he had dealt with the terrible event.
The man was also disqualified from driving until January 2015.