Al­co­hol a fac­tor in col­li­sion

Narrogin Observer - - Front Page - Tim Ed­munds

A mag­is­trate says driv­ers need to be de­terred from get­ting be­hind the wheel in the morn­ing still af­fected by al­co­hol af­ter a P-plate driver avoided jail for caus­ing a head-on crash in Wil­liams ear­lier this year.

Sol River Plum­mer, 18, was charged with care­less driv­ing caus­ing bod­ily harm and ex­cess 0.05 af­ter fall­ing asleep and drift­ing into on­com­ing traf­fic on Al­bany High­way on Jan­uary 13.

Last Thurs­day, Al­bany Mag­is­trate’s Court heard Plum­mer was head­ing home to Al­bany when he drifted onto the wrong side of the high­way on a left-hand bend just af­ter 9am.

His ute clipped an on­com­ing van and then col­lided with a Hyundai Ac­cent sedan driven by Al­bany man Damien Yar­ran.

Plum­mer lost con­trol of his ute and skid­ded into bush, catch­ing alight and start­ing a bush­fire.

Mr Yar­ran was hos­pi­talised af­ter the crash with soft tis­sue in­juries.

De­fence coun­sel Richard Hick­son said Plum­mer had been out drink­ing the pre­vi­ous night in Perth with mates and had gone to sleep about 1.30am.

He said he had thought he was all right to drive the next morn­ing.

“He doesn’t re­mem­ber if he drifted off to sleep, he doesn’t re­call, all he knows is he found him­self in a car in a pad­dock,” he said.

Plum­mer recorded a blood al­co­hol read­ing of 0.061 af­ter the crash.

Mr Hick­son said the ac­ci­dent was un­for­tu­nate for his client and Mr Yar­ran, whose in­juries were more se­ri­ous than first thought.

Pros­e­cut­ing Sergeant Nathan Parkey said the care­less driv­ing leg­is­la­tion had been en­acted to fill the gap where the thresh­old for dan­ger­ous driv­ing was not met

Sgt Parkey said Plum­mer’s de­ci­sion to drive was a “sig­nif­i­cant mis­take” which was hav­ing a last­ing ef­fect on Mr Yar­ran, ev­i­dent in a de­tailed vic­tim im­pact state­ment.

Mag­is­trate Rae­lene John­ston ac­cepted Mr Hick­son’s sub­mis­sion that Plum­mer did not drive de­lib­er­ately while in­tox­i­cat- ed but gen­eral de­ter­rence was sig­nif­i­cant in sen­tenc­ing to pre­vent peo­ple from driv­ing the next morn­ing still af­fected by al­co­hol.

“This was a very un­for­tu­nate and tragic event which im­pacted on many peo­ple,” she said.

“His life has changed as a re­sult of your ac­tions . . . I ac­knowl­edge it was not your in­ten­tion to drive care­lessly and hurt any­one.

“I ac­cept you have shown gen­uine re­morse and this will be a learn­ing ex­pe­ri­ence for you.”

Ms John­ston said a fine did not re­flect the se­ri­ous­ness of the of­fence and was not a suf­fi­cient de­ter­rent. “A strong mes­sage needs to be sent to the com­mu­nity that this type of driv­ing won’t be tol­er­ated,” she said.

“Too many ac­ci­dents are oc­cur­ring from peo­ple driv­ing over the limit and sleep-de­prived.”

Plum­mer was placed on a 12month in­ten­sive su­per­vi­sion or­der with 60 hours com­mu­nity ser­vice.

His li­cence was also dis­qual­i­fied for seven months and he was fined $400.

This was a very un­for­tu­nate and tragic event which has im­pacted on many peo­ple. Rae­lene John­ston

Pic­ture: Wil­liams po­lice

Sol Plum­mer’s ute caught fire af­ter crash­ing, spark­ing a bush­fire.

Damien Yar­ran in hos­pi­tal af­ter the crash.

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