Sad end to sorry saga of El­yse’s fa­tal crash

Tablelands Advertiser - - NEWS - Janessa Ekert and Bec Singh

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.

Pic­ture: Anna Rogers

Friends cover the face of Cindy Gonin as she leaves Cairns Court­house.

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