Tired driver jailed after motorcyclist loses leg, life
A Sydney man has been jailed for up to two years for a fleeting moment of inattention when he drove through a red light and collided with a motorbike rider who died days later.
Benjamin William Ives was behind the wheel of his Mitsubishi Pajero 4WD when it collided with Peter Warner at the intersection of Cumberland Highway and Merrylands Road at 5.10am on September 2, 2020.
The now 40-year-old, who had just completed a night shift as a line marker in Wetherill Park, slowly turned right into Merrylands Road, illegally passing through a red arrow, before hitting Mr Warner's Suzuki motorbike, throwing the rider onto the road.
"I swore it turned green," Ives told police who arrived soon after the collision.
"I was turning right onto Merrylands Road and a motorbike hit me. That was it."
In handing down sentence at Parramatta District Court on Monday, Judge Siobhan Herbert found Ives' failure to see that the light was red or that a motorbike was approaching was "demonstrative of a significant level of inattention".
This lack of attention was "serious and more than mere momentary," she said.
After the accident, Mr Warner was taken to Westmead Hospital with crushed vertebrae, a partially amputated ankle, fractures of his ribs, knee and heel, and a dislocated elbow.
His right leg was amputated below the knee and he was due to have further surgery to decompress his spine. He died 11 days after the accident due to blood clots in his lung and pulmonary arteries.
A victim impact statement by Mr Warner's widow Clare Jennings spoke of the shock she felt when receiving the call from Westmead.
"The impact on Mrs Jennings following the death of the victim has been substantial," Judge Herbert said.
A separate statement by David Warner said his brother was a man who loved camping and motorbike riding in a lifestyle that would have been seriously impacted by the loss of one of his legs.
Ives, who appeared by video link from custody, had pleaded guilty and was sentenced over one count of dangerous driving occasioning grievous bodily harm.
Prosecutors did not allege that he actually caused Mr Warner's death.
Applying a 20 per cent discount for his plea of guilty, Judge Herbert imposed a maximum jail sentence of two years, back-dated to October 7, 2022, and a non-parole period of one year and two months, expiring on December 6 this year.
Ives has also been disqualified from driving for 12 months.
The New Zealand citizen, who moved here when he was three months old, has some criminal history mostly for dishonesty and drug charges. The judge noted that he had a "limited" history of traffic offences.
The judge urged Ives to use the 10-month parole period to undertake drug treatment programs.
However, Ives didn't seem to think he would be able to stay in Australia.
"I'm getting deported. I'm not getting parole," he told the judge.
The Parramatta man also has ADHD as well as PTSD from past trauma and the accident, according to a psychologist's report filed with the court.
"He sees the victim in his dreams and psychologically relives the experience daily," said psychologist Billel Rababi.
In sentencing Ives, Judge Herbert took into account his genuine remorse for what had happened.
However, she did not find that his driving that night, and a decision to get behind the wheel despite being sleep deprived, had anything to do with impulse control caused by his ADHD.