Mum charged after rollover

Tim EdmundsAlbany Advertiser

A mother is facing charges she drove dangerously under the influence of drugs, leading to her seven-year-old suffering serious head injuries after being thrown from the car at high speed.

Zeth Steicke sustained serious head injuries, including a broken jaw, after being thrown from the back seat of the car, which hit a tree and rolled on Albany Highway on August 12, 2017.

Police prosecutors told Albany Magistrate’s Court last Thursday, Carmel Paula Deana Townhill, 30, was incapable of controlling her Jeep Cherokee as she headed north on Albany Highway towards Mt Barker at 9.20pm.

The court heard Zeth may have been unrestrained on the centre back seat of the car and was ejected during the crash, suffering life-threatening injuries.

Ms Townhill and her three-year-old daughter, who was also a passenger in the back, were uninjured.

Following an investigation by Major Crash investigators, Ms Townhill was charged with dangerous driving causing grievous bodily harm under the influence of drugs.

She is also facing charges of driving with prescribed illicit drugs in oral fluid, two counts of possessing cannabis, and driving an unlicensed vehicle.

In court last week, prosecuting Sergeant Cameron Clifford told the court police were applying for the matter to be heard in the district court because of the extreme nature of the injuries to the child and in the “interests of justice”.

In his application Sgt Clifford said Ms Townhill had a combination of methamphetamine and amphetamine in her system, and that she had three prior convictions of driving with a prescribed illicit drug in her oral fluid.

Zeth was transferred to Princess Margaret Hospital with a “traumatic brain injury” from suffering a fractured skull as well as a broken jaw and spinal and internal injuries from the crash.

Defence counsel Graeme Payne requested a four-week adjournment. Ms Townhill will appear in court again on April 5.

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