One driving mistake, six months jail
THE family of a motorcyclist who died in a two-vehicle accident said they were not out for the blood of the driver of the other vehicle.
The sentiments of the late Trevor Leon Bernhard's family were expressed by Crown Prosecutor Claire Kelsey in the District Court in Rockhampton where Leslie Lynn Hines was being sentenced.
The 64-year-old truck driver pleaded guilty to dangerous operation of a vehicle causing death after the ute he was driving collided with Mr Bernhard's motorcycle on the night of March 5, 2010, on the Capricorn Highway near Gogango.
Ms Kelsey said Hines was pulling back into the eastbound lane after overtaking a 25m-long prime mover.
He was driving up an incline at the time.
The court heard Mr Bernhard was travelling in the west-bound lane and his right handlebar clipped the right side of Hines's bullbar, which was still in the same lane.
While Hines's lawyer, Jeff Clarke, said his client made a "serious error of judgement" when he began overtaking while driving up an incline, Ms Kelsey argued Hines' actions were reckless.
Mr Bernhard's right foot was amputated during the accident and he suffered numerous other injuries.
He chose not to have any blood transfusions because of his beliefs as a Jehovah's Witness.
Mr Bernhard died from blood loss in Rockhampton Hospital the next morning.
Mr Clarke said his client was unable to work for 14 months after the accident because of his overwhelming remorse.
He said Hines had had suffered depression and a form of post traumatic stress.
Hines told Mr Clarke he felt like he had already served a sentence.
Mr Bernhard's family said they recognised they were not the only people who were suffering from this tragedy.
Judge Marshall Irwin sentenced Hines to three years jail suspended after six months and disqualified him from holding or obtaining a driver's licence for two years.