Court told of crash driver’s ‘lapse’

Tim EdmundsAlbany Advertiser

The defence lawyer for a former Albany man who crossed onto the incorrect side of South Coast Highway to avoid a rear-end collision but injured three people in a serious head-on crash, says his client should not face the prospect of jail for his error of judgment.

Tyrone Kale Petter, 23, pleaded guilty to two counts of dangerous driving causing grievous bodily harm and one count of dangerous driving causing bodily harm when he appeared in the Albany Magistrate’s Court last Thursday.

Mr Petter was travelling to a wedding with girlfriend Kirstine Cubitt and brother Matthew Petter on January 23 last year when he collided head-on with an Isuzu ute in Marbellup.

The crash seriously injured Ms Cubitt and the occupants of the Isuzu ute, Kris Cramer and Bodhi Stubber.

All occupants of the cars were hospitalised, including Mr Petter.

The court was told Mr Petter tried to avoid a car which was intending to turn right and undertake a U-turn on the 110km/h zone highway, believing the car had not stopped because he did not see a brake or indicator light.

His lawyer Jeremy Noble said it was the “mistaken conclusion” by his client that the car in front was moving and he was then forced to brake hard and chose to swerve right but did not see Mr Cramer’s car heading in the opposite direction and could not avoid the collision.

Mr Cramer turned left but the collision was still head-on, resulting in all occupants needing to be cut from the cars.

Ms Cubitt suffered a fractured leg, wrist and foot, while Mr Cramer suffered a compound leg fracture and multiple lacerations from embedded glass and Mr Stubber’s liver was lacerated along with abdomen bruising.

Mr Noble said his client also spent 12 nights in hospital recovering from a broken pelvis, ankle and toes, as well as a collapsed lung, and his girlfriend was the most seriously injured from being in the front passenger seat.

Mr Noble described the accident as a “momentary lapse of attention” and in hindsight, Mr Petter would have made a better decision if he saw Mr Cramer’s car. He said his client was of good character and had a clean driving and criminal record and there were no aggravating factors of speed, fatigue or alcohol.

“He has expressed regret and remorse and he accepts responsibility for the accident,” he said.

“They would have made it well and truly on time to their engagement.”

Mr Noble has urged Magistrate Raelene Johnston to issue a minimum licence suspension and deal with the matter without a jail term when Mr Petter is sentenced on April 27.

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