Driver who fled crash ‘thought it was a roo’

Driver, 22, in­sists he is no ‘mon­ster’ af­ter leav­ing in­jured mo­tor­cy­clist

The Queensland Times - - NEWS - ROSS IRBY

DRIVER Jar­rod Ga­van Lawlor acted with “cal­lous dis­re­gard” by fail­ing to stop at a crash scene and give help to an in­jured mo­tor­bike rider.

The find­ing was made by Ip­swich mag­is­trate Vir­ginia Sturgess af­ter the court heard how Jar­rod Lawlor con­tin­ued to drive home that night af­ter hit­ting the rider on a ru­ral road.

But Lawlor said he was no mon­ster and dis­agreed with the pros­e­cu­tor that he tried to hide his dam­aged car from po­lice.

Lawlor, 22, a con­creter, main­tained in a later po­lice in­ter­view he be­lieved he may have struck a kan­ga­roo when driv­ing home af­ter a few hours spent at the pub with work­mates.

He told po­lice that his mother and fa­ther had driven the 500m to the scene and re­turned home to tell him that he’d struck a mo­tor­bike rider and an am­bu­lance was on the scene and that there was noth­ing he could do.

But the next day, Lawlor stripped the dam­aged front pan­els, head­light, bumper, and bon­net from off his Holden Com­modore.

Later say­ing he did this be­cause he pan­icked.

He did not go to po­lice and some days later po­lice found his Com­modore in a shed hid­den un­der a blue tar­pau­lin, its front left wheel buck­led and tyre flat, and with some pan­els taken off.

The crum­pled bon­net was never found.

Mo­tor­bike rider David Pam­pling, 42, re­ceived spinal in­juries af­ter he was struck from be­hind on a gravel sec­tion of the road while rid­ing slowly on his Ital­ian model Aprilia RSV af­ter a day’s ride with a friend. He spent con­sid­er­able time in Princess Alexan­dra Hos­pi­tal.

Po­lice pros­e­cu­tor Bron­son Bal­lard said Mr Pam­pling also suf­fered bruis­ing to his brain and a frac­tured eye socket.

A part of the Com­modore was left at the scene.

Lawlor’s dam­aged car was lo­cated a week later and seized.

Jar­rod Ga­van Lawlor, 23, from Wal­loon, pleaded guilty to driv­ing with­out due care and at­ten­tion on Red­hill Rd near Karra­bin at 8pm on Fri­day June 29; and fail­ing to com­ply with the du­ties of a


driver in­volved in a crash and pro­vide de­tails.

Through his bar­ris­ter Mar­tin Longhurst, he un­suc­cess­fully de­fended an ag­gra­vat­ing ele­ment of a third charge that his fail­ure to re­main at the scene of a road in­ci­dent and as­sist in­jured per­sons showed cal­lous dis­re­gard.

On the mag­is­trate’s find­ing that Lawlor had shown cal­lous dis­re­gard, Mr Longhurst said that his ac­tions left Lawlor “ashamed, hu­mil­i­ated, dev­as­tated”.

When in­ter­viewed, Lawlor told po­lice he only drank five beers that night at the Com­mer­cial Ho­tel be­tween 1.15pm and 7.30pm and “re­calls hit­ting some­thing”.

His in­ter­view with Sergeant Adam Cooper was played to the court.

“There was noth­ing around me, just a dirt road. I as­sumed I hit a kan­ga­roo,” he said.

“Next morn­ing I stripped the pan­els. I was in a state of panic I sup­pose. I just wanted to get rid of it. It was all banged up.”

“I didn’t meant to do it. It makes me feel sick, f---ing ter­ri­ble.”

Lawlor took the wit­ness stand say­ing he felt an im­pact that night but kept driv­ing.

And when told by his par­ents that he hit a rider “I went into shock. Started cry­ing, threw up.”

Cross ex­am­ined by Mr Bal­lard as to why he took off the dam­aged pan­els, Lawlor said: “It was panic, the ill feel­ing still over­whelm­ing to me”.

“You cov­ered the car with a tar­pau­lin so no one would no­tice it. And you went about your life,” Mr Bal­lard said.

“I strongly dis­agree. I’m not a mon­ster,” Lawlor said.

Mag­is­trate Sturgess con­victed him off all three of­fences.

Ms Sturgess said she was sat­is­fied po­lice pros­e­cu­tion had proven to a high de­gree he had shown a cal­lous dis­re­gard to the per­son he’d in­jured by fail­ing to stop and as­sist at the scene.

“I don’t ac­cept that he gen­uinely thought he hit a kan­ga­roo. He knew he hit some­thing. He knew his car was dam­aged,” she said.

“I find it un­likely that he re­mained unaware of the ex­is­tence of the mo­tor bike rider af­ter he hit it, a large solid ob­ject.”

Lawlor was sen­tenced to three months jail, im­me­di­ately sus­pended for 12 months. He was fined $1200 and his li­cence dis­qual­i­fied four months.



Photo: Ross Irby

GUILTY: Jar­rod Ga­van Lawlor ar­rives at Ip­swich Court­house on Fri­day, No­vem­ber 9, 2018.

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