Truck driver imprisoned over fatal crash

·3-min read

Failing to keep a lookout one evening in Sydney's west, a truck driver slammed into a broken down van killing its driver.

On Friday, Joseph Paul Winters was sentenced to at least one year and seven months behind bars after his collision with Aziz Alhanyan's van in Smithfield around 8.30pm on April 15 last year.

Judge Andrew Colefax found the 42-year-old truck driver had ample opportunity to see the stationary van and its flashing hazard lights as he travelled at around 60km/h along the Cumberland Highway.

"All of this was clearly visible for a significant distance and for a significant period of time, and would and should have been obvious to you if you had been keeping a proper lookout but you were not," the judge said in Parramatta District Court.

Winters, also known by the surname Crowley, was jailed for a maximum two years and seven months. This took into account a 25 per cent discount after an early guilty plea to a charge of dangerous driving occasioning death.

At a hearing in July, his lawyers argued that an intensive corrections order served in the community or home detention would be more appropriate than jail time.

Mr Alhanyan, who was 32 at the time of the tragedy, had opened his van's bonnet and was standing by the vehicle.

Winters swerved at the last second trying to avoid the van, but impacted both it and an adjacent Uber. After being thrown forwards onto the roadway, Mr Alhanyan was ran over by Winters' Isuzu truck as it continued down the highway.

"(Mr Alhanyan) was a deeply and much loved husband, son, brother and father. He and his wife had five young children. Mr Alhanyan's death has caused immeasurable grief to his family," the judge said.

Brother Abdullah Al-Turfi was also in the vehicle and was thrown about in the cab upon impact. He was taken to hospital for a broken nose and a large gash but was discharged the following day.

Although Winters spent most of the hearing in the dock holding his head in his hands, he quickly turned to his partner as he was taken away by police and said one quiet word, "Sorry".

Judge Colefax noted that Winters had sought psychiatric help after the incident, being diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder and experiencing feelings of guilt, remorse and contrition.

Despite a lengthy criminal history including larceny, assault, supplying prohibited drugs, participating in a criminal group, and possessing an unauthorised firearm, Winters had not committed any criminal offences since 2011 and had never spent any time in jail, the judge added.

Outside court, Mr Alhanyan's elder brother Waleed Al-Turfi expressed disappointment with the length of the jail term.

"We expected a higher level of sentence so when other people see it, they will say, 'That's a high number so we can't speed'. They'll be scared and paranoid," he told AAP.

In a message to his deceased brother, Mr Al-Turfi said he would take care of his five children as if they were his own,

"It's a very hard thing to do but I will do it. I'll be there for them."

Winters, who hadn't driven a vehicle since the collision and who has worked as a bicycle mechanic before being sentenced, will also be disqualified from driving for two years after his release from jail.