Man fined for ‘unusual’ crash

Tim EdmundsAlbany Advertiser

A former Albany man who admitted to driving dangerously which led to a head-on crash causing serious injuries to five people including himself has been fined more than $3000 and had his driver’s licence suspended for two years.

Tyrone Kale Petter was sentenced in the Albany Magistrate’s Court last Thursday after pleading guilty to two counts of dangerous driving causing grievous bodily harm and one count of dangerous driving causing bodily harm from the crash in January last year.

Petter could not avoid a head-on collision with an Isuzu ute driven by Kris Cramer after Petter crossed onto the incorrect side of the highway to avoid a rear-end collision with a Hilux ute which had stopped in the 110km/h zone intending to turn right.

The 23-year-old was on his way to a wedding with girlfriend Kirstine Cubitt and brother Matthew Petter before the serious crash occurred which injured the trio along with Mr Cramer and his passenger Bodhi Stubber.

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The court heard Petter was 300m behind the Hilux but it was not visible at the crest of a small hill and he did not see a brake or indicator light.

His defence lawyer Jeremy Noble said his client made the “mistaken conclusion” the Hilux was moving as he did not see a brake or indicator light and was forced to brake and swerve right to avoid the rear-end collision.

In sentencing, Magistrate Raelene Johnston said while Petter’s decision to steer right around the car onto the incorrect side of the road was a “very poor decision” she also questioned the judgment of the driver of the Hilux opting to undertake a U-turn on the highway.

She said dangerous driving charges causing significant injuries usually attracted jail terms, but she was satisfied the circumstances were “unusual” and the crash was “ultimately a result of a mistaken conclusion” that the car in front was moving.

“You need to anticipate the unexpected and there was another option to you to slow down,” she said.

Magistrate Johnston accepted the sentencing submission by defence lawyer Jeremy Noble that Petter was of good character with no prior driving convictions and there were no aggravating factors of speed, inattention or distraction, but the sentence had to reflect the “devastation” caused.

She said general deterrence to the community was needed and drivers were required to drive with reasonable care and attention and Petter had learnt a lesson by the injuries he had suffered also and having to care for his injured girlfriend.

“I accept you are remorseful and this has taken a toll on your family and those that were injured,” she said.

Petter was fined $3500 and suspended from driving for two years.

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