Drunk motorist jailed over horror crash with ‘dial-a-driver’

 

A young driver who caused a horror crash that left a woman in a coma and fighting for life was more than four times the limit when he got behind the wheel, a court has heard.

Liam Richard Robinson, 21, was today sentenced to four years' jail for the collision which almost killed Shalene Fitzsimmons while she was working as a Dial a Driver at Townsville in August last year.

The Brisbane District Court was told that Robinson had drunk 2.5L of chardonnay and had an estimated blood alcohol concentration of 0.203 when he got behind the wheel and began speeding along Hervey Range Rd about 11.30pm on August 17.

Another motorist called Triple-0 to report Robinson after he was dangerously tailgated by the young driver who overtook him, swerving into oncoming traffic and sped off.

Liam Robinson felt ‘sick to his stomach’ when he heard of Ms Fitzsimmons’s injuries, the court heard.
Liam Robinson felt ‘sick to his stomach’ when he heard of Ms Fitzsimmons’s injuries, the court heard.

The man was still on the phone with police when minutes later he saw the carnage Robinson had caused.

The court heard Ms Fitzsimmons was stopped at a red traffic light at the Ring Road intersection behind her colleague who had picked up four passengers from the North Queensland Elite Rodeo at Alice River.

On the back of her car was an ominous sticker that read: "R U over the limit? Don't be a bloody idiot".

The three-car crash left Townsville woman and Dial a Driver worker Shalene Fitzsimmons fighting for her life. Photo: Dial a Driver/Supplied
The three-car crash left Townsville woman and Dial a Driver worker Shalene Fitzsimmons fighting for her life. Photo: Dial a Driver/Supplied


Prosecutor James Marxson said the lights had just turned green when Robinson slammed into the back of her car causing her to move forward 12m into the rear of her colleague's car.

Ms Fitzsimmons was rushed to Townsville Hospital with multiple rib fractures, spinal injuries, a collapsed lung and spent three weeks in an induced coma.

Mr Marxson said the life-changing accident saw Ms Fitzsimmons in hospital for almost four months and she still needs a wheelie walker to get around.

Shalene Fitzsimmons spent almost four months in hospital.
Shalene Fitzsimmons spent almost four months in hospital.


Astonishingly, the court heard that Robinson was on a restricted driver' license at the time.

His father had also suffered a permanent eye injury as a result of a drink driver.

"It is breathtaking in those circumstances that you chose to drive that night while so intoxicated," Judge Vicki Loury QC said.

Barrister Chris Minnery said Robinson had little recollection from the night and felt "sick to his stomach" when he read in the local paper the extent of Ms Fitzsimmons's injuries.

"He's just so terribly sorry and he can't understand why he did it," Mr Minnery said.

Judge Loury acknowledged his age, remorse and the fact he had pleaded guilty at an early stage to dangerous operation of a vehicle causing harm and driving over the limit.

She said he was lucky that Ms Fitzsimmons did not die.

"You tailgated a car at speed, you overtook a car at speed, you swerved onto the oncoming lanes of traffic," Judge Loury said.

"You were a danger to every innocent road user that night. You demonstrated a complete disregard for the interests of public safety."

Robinson was sentenced to four years' jail, to be suspended after serving 12 months behind bars.

He was also disqualified from driving for 18 months.

Originally published as Drunk motorist jailed over horror crash with 'dial-a-driver'


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