A YOUNG driver who killed a woman and seriously injured her teenaged son in a crash at Two Mile last year was jailed in Gympie District Court yesterday.
Scott William Folland, 20, an apprentice chef, told a sombre court room he was sorry when he pleaded guilty to dangerous operation of a vehicle causing death while affected by drugs, and to drug driving and drug possession.
He will serve 15 months of a five year jail term (before it is suspended) and has been disqualified from driving for five years.
It was revealed in court Folland was convicted of a separate, subsequent drink driving offence on March 30, of this year.
Tears flowed from both sides of the room as the court heard details of the night Glenwood mother Jacqueline Harrison, 40, died when Folland, who was under the influence of marijuana, drove on to the wrong side of the Bruce Hwy on July 8, of 2014.
The court heard Mrs Harrison was driving north on the Bruce Hwy with her 14-year-old son William, 16-year-old daughter Karlee and her daughter's boyfriend in a Toyota Corolla.
Folland, a P-Plate driver, was heading south in a Commodore ute when he crossed to the wrong side of the highway near the Wardell Rd turn-off, failing to take a bend in the road.
The ute crashed into the front of the Corolla, killing Mrs Harrison.
William, who was trapped in the front seat, was cut free and airlifted to Brisbane where his spleen was removed and he was treated for bleeding on the brain and a broken jaw, ribs, feet and hip socket. He spent 10 days in hospital. The other passengers, who were both taken to the Gympie Hospital, suffered broken sternums, concussion and one had fractured ribs.
With only minor injuries, the court heard Folland got out of his car and walked to the other car, where he was heard to say he was sorry and that he had fallen asleep.
Folland's lawyer, Phillip Hardcastle, said in that moment Folland was unaware someone had been killed.
Soon after, Folland removed four grams of marijuana and drug related items from his car and hid them under a nearby fence, the court heard. These were later found by police.
When he was drug tested, Folland had a reading of .019mg in his saliva, indicating recent marijuana use.
The Crown Prosecutor indicated the reading was almost twice .010 - a level associated with elevated crash risk due to impaired concentration, slower reaction time and effects on short term memory.
He said the young and inexperienced driver was entirely to blame and noted his subsequent drink driving offence since the accident.
He asked that the community be protected from him by calling for the full sentence and a significant driving disqualification.
When interviewed, Folland told police he had fallen asleep after driving for about two hours. He said the last thing he saw was the Woodworks Museum and when he "came to" his car was spinning around.
He also told police "his body had felt heavy" and he should have pulled over, but had wanted to push on as he was only five minutes from home.
Judge Gary Long told the young driver he could have been jailed for up to 14 years for the offence.
"A woman who was a wife and a mother died as a result of what you did," he said.
"Her 14-year-old son had to be cut out of the car and taken to Brisbane, suffering very significant injuries that require surgical, orthopedic and maxillofacial treatment.
"He is a victim as well as the dead as a result of your conduct."
Judge Long said the loss in the family was not just in relation to the physical loss of their mother and wife, but also the ongoing psychological consequences.
He said he was concerned about the matter of drink driving after last year's accident, but agreed from a number of references that he had made recent efforts to turn his life around.