Samantha must live with the guilt
A TEENAGE girl who crashed her car at Tinana, killing her 17-year-old boyfriend, Adrian Hope, walked out of court yesterday with a $750 fine and a six-month driving disqualification.
But while Samantha Jane Smith, 17, left court with a light penalty it will be the memory of that night which will be her real sentence.
In handing down the decision Magistrate John Smith said it was clear Smith was remorseful.
“You suffered the loss of a boyfriend and you also suffered physically,” he said.
“No one can compensate you for what you’ve lost, or compensate the parents of Adrian.
“You will carry that with you for the rest of your life.”
Smith pleaded guilty to driving without due care and attention.
Prosecutor Sergeant Craig Ryan said the circumstances of the crash, including wet weather, poor visibility and Smith’s driving inexperience, meant she was not charged with the more serious offence of dangerous driving causing death.
The court heard that Smith was driving along Iindah Road about 9.30pm on December 28 when she drove through a Give Way sign and into the path of a utility on Teddington Road.
“The driver of the utility observed oncoming headlights and realised the vehicle didn’t appear to be stopping,” Sgt Ryan said.
“He braked heavily but was unable to avoid impact with the sedan.”
Sgt Ryan said Smith was unconscious from the moment of impact and her car continued for about 60 metres before coming to a stop in Woocoo Park.
Her sole passenger, Adrian, was cut from the wreckage and died before reaching hospital.
Smith was in the intensive care unit of Hervey Bay Hospital for several days and suffered a fractured collarbone, fractured ribs and internal injuries.
Sgt Ryan said it had been raining heavily on the night of the crash but it was not raining at the time of the collision.
“There were large pools of water on the road. It was night-time and the intersection was poorly lit. The Give Way sign did not have a reflective surface.
“The defendant braked at the point of a white triangle on the road and a reconstruction showed her vehicle would have been travelling below the speed limit, at a rate of between 45-50 kmh.
“She was on her way to an event. She was unfamiliar with the road and was looking for an intersection she had to turn at.”
Sgt Ryan said Smith only had her licence for three months before the crash and her lack of experience combined with the road conditions led to the crash.
Smith was represented in court by solicitor Trinity McGarvie, who tendered several references from Smith’s former teachers at Maryborough High School as well as her employer.
Ms McGarvie said her client offered no excuse for the crash and that the incident had affected Smith dramatically, both physically and mentally.