Driver's 'lenient' sentence angers dead boy's family
THE family of a 14-year-old boy killed in an horrific car crash has been left angry, hurt and confused by the sentence handed down by a Toowoomba court to the woman who had been driving the vehicle.
Chloe Lee Cubby, 31, had been driving a Toyota Prado with six young passengers including 14-year-old Williki Collins on the Carnarvon Highway just south of Surat about 5.45pm, August 19, last year, Toowoomba Magistrates Court heard.
She was doing about 120kmh when she came up behind a truck towing a horse float which she went to overtake.
Ignoring pleas from the 18-year-old woman passenger beside her to slow down, Cubby had overtaken the truck at speed but lost control when the car hit gravel on the other side of the highway and crashed into guide posts before veering back onto the road.
She over-steered as she veered back onto the correct side of the road, then over-corrected, rolling the vehicle which became airborne, police prosecutor Senior Constable Julia Wheaton told the court.
The car rolled three times, throwing Williki, who was not wearing a seatbelt, forward and another passenger out of the vehicle.
Williki sustained serious head injuries and was airlifted to Lady Cilento Hospital in Brisbane where a week later he died.
His mother, Odette, had arrived at the crash scene in time to see her son in an ambulance before he was put into the helicopter.
She and family members were at his bedside in Brisbane when he died.
In a heartfelt Facebook post which was used as a Victim Impact Statement in court, Odette Collins said: "Watching him lying there was the most heartbreaking experience of my life and it is something that I wouldn't wish upon any mother to go through.
"After spending a week being monitored by doctors and specialists on Saturday the 25th of August I had a meeting with the doctor and it was then I received the most heartbreaking news from the doctors that there was nothing else they could do for my son and I was told that his life support machine would be turned off."
Cubby pleaded guilty to the relatively recently legislated offence of driving without due care and attention causing death.
Her barrister Scott Lynch said his client had sustained life-threatening injuries in the crash and had suffered acquired brain injury which, as a result, had left her with no memory of the crash.
However, she was remorseful and grieved for Williki and his family.
Magistrate Robbie Davies said there were few comparable sentences by which to gauge penalty and that nothing would bring Williki back to his family.
In accordance with similar sentences, Mr Davies sentenced Cubby to seven months in jail but suspended the whole term for two years.
She was disqualified from driving for 18 months.
Outside court, Willki's grandfather John Collins shook his head in anger and disbelief.
"I don't think the sentence fit the crime," he said.
"I think she should have got her time (in jail) for killing a 14-year-old boy.
"She's playing the victim, but the victim is lying in a grave at St George."
Mr Collins said Williki was a respected teenager within the community who was into sport and Aboriginal story telling and dance.
"From what I've heard in St George, people out there can't speak highly enough of him," he said.
"He was our next cultural leader for St George."