SA drug-driving mum jailed for son's death

Kathryn Bermingham
Stacey Panozzo has been jailed for killing her young son while driving under the influence of drugs

The devastated partner of a South Australian woman who killed their son while driving on drugs says her jail sentence is fair but "nothing is ever going to bring my son back".

Stacey Brooke Panozzo, 35, had the couple's three children in her car when she slammed into a tree at Kuitpo, south of Adelaide, in November 2017.

Their seven-year-old son, Jackson Levi Rayner, was killed instantly, while their two-year-old daughter suffered facial fractures, a fractured femur, and lung and liver injuries.

Panozzo was also injured and another son, Jackson's twin brother, was in a state of shock when emergency services arrived at the scene.

Blood and hair samples taken after the crash revealed she had several drugs in her system including methylamphetamine, amphetamine, diazepam, nordazepam, ketamine, fentanyl, lamotrigine, oxycodone and cannabis.

She had been released on bail but was taken into custody after failing several drug tests, driving while under the influence of ice and driving disqualified.

Panozzo wept in the dock as District Court judge Paul Cuthbertson on Thursday jailed her for three years, eight months and two weeks, with a non-parole period of two years, two months.

Judge Cuthbertson said her decision to drive dangerously, causing the death of her child, was "an offence of the most grave kind".

"The fact that the human being in this case is the child of the offender is no doubt severe punishment in itself for the offender, but it is small comfort for the individual whose life is lost and will never grow up," he said.

Outside court, Panozzo's partner, Marcus Rayner, said he thought she "did quite well" with the sentence handed down.

But he said the last two years had been hard for the family.

"It's something we'll have to live with for the rest of our lives. Well, she will," he said.

"Nothing is ever going to bring my son back."

Mr Rayner said it was "horrific" and "extremely disappointing" that Panozzo continued to drive on ice after their son's death and their situation demonstrated how the drug ruined lives.

"It can, absolutely. People need to understand that," he said.

Panozzo, who pleaded guilty to aggravated causing death by dangerous driving and aggravated causing harm by dangerous driving, will be disqualified from driving for 10 years on her release.