Jail term suspended for man who fell asleep behind wheel
A YOUNG Tiaro father who caused the death of a 31-year-old woman - and sustained serious brain damage - when he fell asleep at the wheel of his car, was given a suspended prison sentence on Thursday.
The Maryborough District Court heard Nathan Jeremy Connors, 28, was on his way home from buying an anniversary present for his wife on the night the accident happened.
The court heard he had travelled to Brisbane and back on March 14, 2012, and was almost home when he swerved into the path of a car driven by Wendy Janice Arthur near Tiaro, killing her on impact.
Ms Arthur's passenger escaped unharmed, as did a truck driver travelling behind Ms Arthur, but Connors was airlifted to Brisbane with serious head injuries.
"Witnesses saw the defendant driving erratically, swerving on to the wrong side of the road," prosecutor Clare Kelly said.
Defence barrister Michael Woodford said Connors had no memory of the accident and had significant brain damage that had altered his capacity to function.
"He has two children to his former wife," he said.
"The marriage was having difficulties (at the time of the crash).
"But that day he continued through Tiaro to Maryborough to pick up an anniversary present, so that indicates how he felt about (the relationship)."
Mr Woodford said Connors now lived alone on a family property at Tiaro where he was supported financially by his mother.
"He and his wife separated in September, 2012," he said.
"He has supervised visits with his children every second weekend.
"He has forgotten his butcher skills."
Judge Hugh Botting described the case as "rare" and one that had a dramatic impact on many people.
Connors pleaded guilty to dangerous driving causing death and was sentenced to 30 months imprisonment, wholly suspended.