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Disqualified and deadly: Schoner sentenced to jail

Victorian woman Bronya Schoner yesterday pleaded guilty to causing a fatal crash on the New England Hwy last year.
Victorian woman Bronya Schoner yesterday pleaded guilty to causing a fatal crash on the New England Hwy last year. File

JUST 12 days before she caused a crash that killed a Tenterfield woman and left her daughter in a wheelchair, a Victorian woman was told by a court she was not allowed to drive.

In January last year, Bronya Schoner, now 38, was disqualified from driving after being convicted of drink driving.

On February 1 she defied that order and started a journey from Melbourne to the Gold Coast.

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Just outside of Tenterfield, the mother of two was stopped by police and given a speeding fine, with the officer noticing she "seemed tired".

The Victorian woman - who at the time was also on bail for other offences - continued on but her journey ended about an hour later with catastrophic consequences.

Schoner's green Toyota Camry veered into the wrong lane just south of Stanthorpe and collided with a Toyota Echo containing Dianne Holley and her two daughters.

Mrs Holley died at the scene. Her 20-year-old daughter Samantha sustained massive injuries, spent 10 months in hospital and is now confined to a wheelchair.

It is not known if she will ever walk again.

On Tuesday morning, Schoner entered a not guilty plea to the charge of dangerous driving causing death and grievous bodily harm

As a result, Katie Holley appeared in Warwick District Court to give a moving account of the day her life changed forever.

When faced with Schoner's car coming straight at her, Katie had to make a decision and swerved her car in an attempt to avoid a collision.

Victorian woman Bronya Schoner. Photo Candyce Braithwaite / Warwick Daily News
Victorian woman Bronya Schoner. Photo Candyce Braithwaite / Warwick Daily News Candyce Braithwaite

Three days into the trial, Schoner changed her mind and told the court she was in fact guilty of the charge.

She also pleaded guilty to disqualified driving, driving with methamphetamine in her system and both possessing a syringe and also a spoon and scales used in connection with a drug offence.

The court heard a small amount of methamphetamine was found in her system but it was not enough to have affected her driving.

Fatigue was attributed to causing the accident, with Schoner having travelled 1600km in less than 18 hours and having been awake for at least 24 hours.

Crown Prosecutor Christopher Cook yesterday told the court Schoner's offending was very serious and said the woman had shown no remorse for her actions.

Mr Cook said at the scene of the accident, Schoner was aggressive to paramedics and police and complained about a woman screaming.

He added Schoner had a history of traffic and criminal offences, including the armed robbery of two people with a syringe filled with red liquid back in 2000.

She was sentenced to five years jail but her sentence will be suspended in February next year.

Topics:  court crime warwick


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