Guilty plea in fatal crash court case

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

UPDATE: BRONYA Schoner has this morning pleaded guilty in the Warwick District Court to causing a traffic crash at Stanthorpe in which a Tenterfield woman died.

Schoner has been on trial this week charged with dangerous operation of a motor vehicle causing death and grievous bodily harm.

She is due to be sentenced at 2pm. Update to follow.

EARLIER: WITNESSES have told a court the woman accused of causing a fatal crash at Stanthorpe was driving on the wrong side of the road moments before impact.

Five people, including the daughter of the Tenterfield woman killed in the crash, testified to that in the Warwick District Court yesterday.

Victorian woman Bronya Schoner is charged with dangerous operation of a motor vehicle causing death and grievous bodily harm.

She this week pleaded not guilty to the charge.

It is alleged Schoner drove for up to 18 hours before the crash, as she made her way from Victoria to the Gold Coast. Tenterfield woman Dianne Holley was a passenger in the Toyota Echo that collided with Schoner's car on the afternoon of February 1.

She suffered massive head injuries and died at the scene.

Mrs Holley's daughter Samantha, 20, was the front passenger and was airlifted to hospital with head injuries.

The court this week heard she spent 10 months in and out of a coma.

Katie Holley, now 26, yesterday told the court she was driving her mother and sister home after visiting the Stanthorpe Show and stopping for a takeaway lunch that day.

Through tears, Katie told the eight-woman, four-man jury how her mother had bought a toy for her unborn grandson at the show.

After eating McDonald's in the car park - to accommodate Katie's dog, Poppy, who also died in the crash - the women travelled to Red Rooster and then onto the New England Hwy on their journey home.

Katie said as she had just passed the Whiskey Gully Rd turn-off, when she was confronted by Schoner's green Toyota Camry driving straight at her.

She said Schoner's car was "completely" in her lane and she didn't have time to beep her horn or react.

"I looked to the left and there was a bank and trees so I swerved right to get out of the way of the car," she said.

"The airbag deployed and hit me in the face and I didn't see what happened; next thing I knew we'd come to rest on a tree on the other side of the road."

Schoner's lawyer Robbie Davies suggested his client was in her own lane when the cars collided but Katie was adamant that wasn't the case.

"She was 100% in my lane and headed for me," she said.

Supporting Katie's version of events was Paul Turner, a retired orthopaedic surgeon who was heading to Stanthorpe with his wife, Jennifer.

"My wife and I were overtaken by (Schoner's) car and saw it go around the corner on the wrong side of the road and immediately after that we came upon an accident," he said.

Dr Turner said before he lost sight of the car, he had noted its position on the road.

"The whole of (Schoner's) car was centred in the incorrect lane. It was not on the lines - it looked like it was being deliberately driven there.

"It wasn't swerving or driving erratically; it was being driven normally, just in the wrong lane."

Mrs Davies also suggested Dr Turner was mistaken about his client's position on the road.

"I am certain I'm not," he said.

Mrs Turner gave a similar version and testified to seeing Schoner's car on the wrong side of the road as it disappeared from sight.

Japanese tourists Ryoji Izui and Kojiro Horiae also testified that Schoner was driving on the wrong side of the road before colliding with the Holleys.

Schoner's car collided with the Mitsubishi Magna being driven by Mr Izui, who gave his evidence through a translator.

The trial continues in the Warwick District Court today.

Topics:  court crime warwick

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