Drunk driver jailed for eight years over fatal crash

A Brisbane man who doesn’t remember being behind the wheel in a crash that left one person dead and two injured has been sentenced to eight years in jail.

Mar 12, 2021, updated Mar 12, 2021
Dion Gundy, who died in the crash. Photo: Supplied

Dion Gundy, who died in the crash. Photo: Supplied

The Brisbane District Court heard his actions caused the “completely avoidable” death of one person and “catastrophic” injuries to another.

Jerome Brian Pilot had been drinking heavily at a party at Bray Park, north of Brisbane, before driving Dion Gundy and two others home before midnight on September 28, 2018.

After just 1500 metres, the now 25-year-old lost control of the car on a sweeping left-hand bend, crossing to the wrong side of the road and over a footpath before crashing into a palm tree in the front yard of a Samsonvale Road home.

Front seat passenger Gundy, 22, was killed instantly, while Daniel Hegarty and Christine Extross, both seated in the back of the car, were critically injured.

More than two hours after the crash, Pilot’s alcohol level was more than four times the legal limit at 0.206.

He has no recollection of driving the vehicle or the crash.

At the time he was on parole, with a condition being that he not drink alcohol.

The unnecessary loss of human life and catastrophic effects of the collision would profoundly affect many people, Brisbane District Court Judge Ian Dearden said.

Hegarty described himself as having no quality of life for 18 months after the accident, according to his victim impact statement referred to in court.

He hoped to be able to walk without a frame and crutches at some stage.

“He (Hegarty) says this, ‘I feel now that I don’t have a life and that … this accident has changed me forever and I will never be the young, bubbly, full-of-life, adventurous and healthy man that I once was which makes me so incredibly sad,” Judge Dearden said in sentencing Pilot.

Dearden said there must be a consequence for a person who drinks, gets behind the wheel and then drives dangerously.

“This was not an accident – this was an avoidable collision,” he said.

“The consequences … (were) the completely avoidable death of one young man, the catastrophic grievous bodily harm suffered by the second young man and the less serious grievous bodily harm suffered by the young woman.”

Showing photographs of the mangled car after the crash, Dearden said the vehicle was clearly driven at an excessive speed.

Gundy’s mother Suzanne Gittoes said outside the court family members were “just coping with living everyday” without her eldest boy.

Pilot was sentenced to eight years behind bars after pleading guilty last year to dangerous driving causing death and grievous bodily harm.

Having already spent 21 months in custody, he will be eligible for parole in October.

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