A Windang man has walked free from court after being handed a suspended sentence for causing a three-vehicle accident at Yallah in which an elderly woman was killed and two men permanently injured.
Brett Collison, 43, was placed on a 7½-month good behaviour bond in lieu of a full-time jail sentence and ordered to perform 150 hours of community service, in Wollongong Local Court yesterday after earlier pleading guilty to negligent driving causing death and grievous bodily harm.
Collison was driving a small Hino truck along the F6 motorway on June 21 last year when he collided with a Daewoo sedan travelling in the same direction.
The force of the impact pushed the car across the median strip into oncoming traffic, where it crashed head-on with a Honda.
The Honda's front seat passenger, Joy Borjeson, was killed in the collision while her son Stephen, who was driving the car, broke both his ankles.
The Daewoo driver, Shane Gardner, suffered a fractured leg that required a rod to be inserted into the bone.
Mr Gardner was bedridden for three months and is expected to have ongoing problems as a result of his injuries.
Both Mr Borjeson and Mr Gardner told the court during a previous sitting that the accident had left them with ongoing emotional and physical trauma.
"Mum was a week from her 85th birthday and we were preparing for a large family celebration," Mr Borjeson told the court at the time.
"But instead of celebrating her birthday, my family and I were grieving at her funeral."
The Borjeson family was in Wollongong court yesterday to hear the sentence read out.
Outside the court, the family said it was a relief the case was at an end, describing the process as "draining".
"We feel a bit of justification that [Collison] was given a suspended sentence ... [but] there would never be a sentence strong enough to cover what we've been through," Mr Borjeson said.
He said he was disappointed Collison had never apologised to the family.
Collison originally faced dangerous driving charges over the accident, but pleaded guilty to the lesser offence of negligent driving on the morning he was due to stand trial.
Magistrate Mark Douglass described Collison's actions on the day as a "misjudgment" rather than "momentary inattention", saying he'd failed to keep a proper lookout. However, in suspending the sentence, he noted Collison was a person of prior good character who had also suffered considerably as a result of the crash, and jailing him full-time would impact on his family and mental health.