A drug-addled unlicensed driver, who nearly killed his 14-year-old passenger when he crashed into a power pole in Unanderra, has been sentenced to an overall 3½ years' jail.
Sentencing Shaun Primmer on Wednesday, Judge Paul Conlon said he wanted to send a clear message to "flashy" drivers who cause near-fatal accidents - they will go to jail.
"This is yet another example of young, often drug or alcohol-affected drivers, showing off and driving aggressively with catastrophic consequences," he said.
"If you continue on the road this way, causing severe injury or loss of life, significant punishment will follow."
Primmer was high on a cocktail of ice and cannabis, driving nearly twice the speed limit and had never held a licence when he took his 14-year-old friend and a male passenger for a spin on December 6 last year.
A witness heard the 19-year-old's engine revving before the car screeched around a right turn, accelerated on to the wrong side of the road and hit a power pole.
While Primmer and the other man escaped the crash with minor injuries, the 14-year-old wasn't so lucky.
She had critical injuries and had to be airlifted to a Sydney hospital where she remains.
The teen suffered a severe, traumatic brain injury and would need long-term rehabilitation, Wollongong District Court heard on Wednesday.
Judge Conlon described the teen's injuries and its effect on her family as "heartbreaking".
Jailing Primmer, the judge noted the Farmborough Heights man had been placed on good behaviour bonds, just 10 days before the offence, for a police pursuit.
Judge Conlon said both incidents revealed "aggressive, showing-off driving".
"There was evidence of revving and speeding, which caused him to lose control in a suburban, residential street," he said.
"[Primmer] abandoned his responsibility for not only the passengers in the car but other potential road users."
Judge Conlon rejected claims that Primmer's intellectual delays, along with "distraction" from his passengers, may have contributed to the crash.
The court heard Primmer, who pleaded guilty to dangerous driving causing grievous bodily harm, had a poor academic history and had been bullied at school due to his extreme height.
He started smoking pot at age 15 and "ice" several years later, smoking it every day in the lead-up to the crash.
Judge Conlon said Primmer had shown genuine remorse, "crying every night" for the victim and her injuries.
The teen was sentenced to a non-parole period of 2½ years.
He was banned from driving for 10 years.