Sad end to sorry saga of Elyse’s fatal crash
THE family of Elyse Miller-Kennedy is heartbroken over the loss of their “shining star” as the French nurse, who caused the fatal crash that killed the 17-year-old, is left physically and emotionally scarred.
Cindy Gonin was shielded by supporters as she walked, with the aid of crutches, from the Cairns courthouse on Monday after Judge Michael Shanahan handed her a twoyear suspended jail term.
Mareeba Shire Councillor Edward ‘Nipper’ Brown said there would be mixed emotions within the small Dimbulah community.
“Mixed as in glad that it’s over and then probably a little disappointed … regarding the sentence,” Cr Brown said.
Elyse Miller-Kennedy spent seven days in Townsville Hospital following the high-impact crash at a bend on the Mareeba Dimbulah Rd on August 3 last year.
“No sentence is going to bring Elyse back,” Cr Brown said.
“She was a shining star in a small community and everybody saw her as that. She had so much ahead of her.
“You can just hope that this sort of gives them some form of closure.”
Dimbulah Police Station Senior Constable Paul Stanley said this had an impact on the community but police were continuing to focus on road safety.
“There is no doubt this had a significant impact on the community,” he said.
“Our continued focus remains on road safety through RBT, radar and educating road users.”
Gonin, then 23, and a friend had borrowed a car to look for work, driving from Cairns up to the Tablelands. She had only been in Australia for three months with limited experience driving in the country.
She had been driving towards Mareeba when the vehicle drifted onto the other side of the road, colliding head-on with the vehicle driven by Elyse.
Crown prosecutor Nigel Rees said the bend in the road would have restricted either driver from seeing oncoming traffic.
Gonin suffered significant physical and psychological injuries from the crash.
Friends cover the face of Cindy Gonin as she leaves Cairns Courthouse.