IT was a moment of inattention with fatal consequences.
It led to the agonising death of a respected community man and torment for his family members, who watched him deteriorate in hospital in the weeks after a car crash in Girrawheen last year.
And it meant the driver responsible for the collision, Darch mother Yanfang Yu (34), was left distraught with a man’s death on her conscience.
Magistrate Gregory Benn on Tuesday described the death of 90year-old Wasyl Czwerenczuk as “an absolute tragedy” when he sentenced Yu in Joondalup Magistrates Court after she pleaded guilty to careless driving causing death.
She was attempting to turn right from Marangaroo Drive on to Girrawheen Avenue about 11am on September 2 when she crossed into the path of an oncoming vehicle driven by Mr Czwerenczuk and caused a collision.
The court heard Mr Czwerenczuk did not die until September 27 after going through weeks of pain in hospital.
Despite the prosecution strongly pushing for imprisonment, Yu received a $5000 fine, a 12-month driving ban and a criminal record.
Mr Czwerenczuk’s daughter Maria, son-in-law David and two grandchildren Natasha and Jason, all with the surname Abbott, were in court for Yu’s sentencing.
The crash happened on Yu’s birthday, but also a day before Father’s Day and two days before Jason’s birthday. Jason spoke on behalf of the family outside court, with his mother and father too upset to speak.
“We respect the judge’s decision and are grateful for the chance he provided us to give grandad a voice through the victim impact statement,” he said.
“There can be no winners in a situation like this. Father’s Day and my birthday will forever be remembered for being in hospital stroking grandad’s head.”
Czwerenczuk’s death 25 days later.
“He was in agony for all those 25 days… all of this suffering was brought about by Ms Yu’s careless manoeuvre,” he said.
Defence lawyer Jun Khew Wong said his client, who cried throughout the hearing, wanted to “unreservedly apologise to the family”.
Mr Czwerenczuk’s granddaughter Natasha said the family had not spoken with her.
“She will live with this for the rest of her life, just like we will too; as much as she might want to say sorry, we might want to say other things that aren’t very pleasant,” she said.
Mr Benn said Yu’s crime was a “classic instance of failure to keep due care and attention”.
He accepted Yu “simply did not see” the victim’s vehicle but this led to the “most serious and tragic result possible”.
“I see your level of remorse at the bar table and I see your tears,” he said.
He refused Mr Wong’s submission for a spent conviction because “an employer has the right to know of this offence”.
Mr Czwerenczuk was a loved member of the local community and a former head of security with the Reserve Bank of Australia, having worked his way up as a security officer.
Jason said his grandfather was active with the Ukrainian church, sang in the choir and visited his wife’s grave every Saturday.
The victim’s daughter Maria Abbott with husband David after the hearing.