A teenage driver thought he had killed his best mate.
A teenage driver thought he had killed his best mate.

‘He thought he killed his best mate’

A TEENAGE driver screamed in distress at the thought he had killed his best mate after rolling his mate’s ute while fish tailing with passengers in the tray.

The teen, now 18, pleaded guilty last week in Rockhampton District Court to one count of dangerous operation of a motor vehicle causing grievous bodily harm.

Crown prosecutor Elise Sargent said the teen was 17 at the time of the incident. She said he and the victim decided to go for a drive on the night and about 9pm, they arrived at a vacant lot in Norman Gardens with others.

Ms Sargent said the defendant drove the victim’s ute while the victim and another child rode in the tray of the Hilux.

The defendant was doing fish tails on a grassed block 200 metres by 100 metres when the left side of the ute lifted off the ground.

“When the vehicle was almost laying on it’s right side, the victim jumped on to the ground,” Ms Sargent said.

“The other child was thrown.”

The ute rolled and the victim was “momentarily” caught under the Hilux.

Another child at the lot attempted to help the victim, but he was unable to stand. A couple that lived nearby came to help. The victim had a collapsed lung, blood in his lungs and chest cavity, broken ribs, cuts and bruises, along with fractures to his T9 and T10 vertebrae and spinal cord.

He spent three days in intensive care and a further 10 days in the surgical ward.

His family was initially told he was lucky to be alive and that he may not walk again.

However, the victim has recovered but with a diminished lung capacity which led to months away from school and traineeships.

The ute was written off.

Defence barrister Jordan Ahlstrand said his client had suffered from depression since the incident.

“He thought he had killed his best mate,” he said.

“He couldn’t sleep. He kept picturing him. He wishes he could take it back.”

Judge Michael Burnett said immaturity and an inexperienced driver, along with people being in the back of the ute, was a recipe for disaster. He ordered the defendant to nine months’ probation, to participate in a Restorative Justice Order and disqualified him from driving for 12 months.

No conviction was recorded.