"I WISH you could have met him for just a day, then you would understand what an awful and tragic loss it is for all of us who knew him."
A brief excerpt of a powerful victim statement from the wife of Timothy Hardwick was read aloud in Bundaberg District Court yesterday to demonstrate the inconceivable loss the family has suffered.
It was December 3, 2015 when a then unlicensed 18-year-old Cody Jordan Chadwick drove his car onto the wrong side of a North Bundaberg street, striking and killing the 38-year-old Bundaberg father-of-two.
Chadwick pleaded guilty to a charge of dangerous operation of a vehicle causing death and leaving the scene of an incident without obtaining help.
It's a charge that carries a maximum penalty of 14 years.
Chadwick was also facing indictment charges relating to carnal knowledge of a girl under 16 and indecent treatment of a girl under 16 as well as summary charges relating to other traffic incidents.
At the time of the fatal incident Chadwick was on a probation order and suspended sentence relating to other traffic matters and on bail for the sexual offences.
The court heard on December 3, 2015 Chadwick was seen driving in a reckless fashion at a nearby caravan park, coming in close proximity to Mr Hardwick's children.
This incident sparked Mr Hardwick and others to then leave the caravan park to look for Chadwick and "remonstrate" with him.
Crown Prosecutor David Finch said about 5.30pm, Chadwick was standing next to his car on Queen St, Bundaberg North accompanied by a man and woman when two men, associated with Mr Hardwick, approached Chadwick's vehicle.
Chadwick then jumped back into his car and drove off at speed as one of the men approached the vehicle, throwing a tree branch at the car.
Chadwick drove along Queen St towards Perry St but instead of staying in the left lane and turning left, which is the only legal turn able to be made onto Perry St, Chadwick drove onto the right-hand lane into oncoming traffic at unsafe speeds, hitting Mr Hardwick.
"The deceased, once struck, passed underneath the vehicle and the vehicle didn't stop," Mr Finch said
Mr Hardwick was dragged about 7m, according to witnesses.
Defence barrister Andrew Hoare argued that witnesses had indicated Mr Hardwick had made a sudden movement onto the road when the fatal hit-and-run incident happened.
Mr Hoare submitted a psychology report detailing Chadwick's personal history, which involved his parents splitting up when he was young and a bad relationship with his stepfather who was violent towards him.
Mr Hoare said later CCTV footage showed Chadwick in a "stressed and emotional state" before he sought refuge at his mother's house where he was apprehended by police.
Judge Brian Devereaux told the court it was necessary to impose a significant term of imprisonment on Chadwick because of the seriousness of the offence.
But Judge Devereaux said at the same time he took into account Chadwick's age, difficult background and the real prospect of rehabilitation.
Judge Devereaux also had to take into consideration Chadwick's earlier pleas of guilt for seven counts of indecent treatment of a child under 16 and two of carnal knowledge which happened in 2014 when a then 17-year-old Chadwick had sex with a 13-year-old girl and sent her photos of his erect penis..
Judge Devereaux sentenced Chadwick to six-and-a-half years' imprisonment with an eligible parole date of February 3 next year.
With time already spent in prison, Chadwick will serve at least two years and two months behind bars before his parole date.
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