Busselton man spared jail after drug fuelled Bussell Highway collision
A Busselton man was reduced to tears as he was slammed by a South West magistrate for his drug-fuelled “ridiculously stupid and dangerous” driving on Bussell Highway.
Jayden Christopher Cole was high on cannabis, methamphetamine and amphetamines on April 12 when he veered into oncoming traffic on Bussell Highway at 110km/h.
His car slammed into a man driving to work, totalling the man’s car and sending him to hospital.
The collision came only days after Cole was recorded doing burnouts and fishtailing his commodore in Busselton.
Charged with dangerous driving causing bodily harm, driving with illicit drugs in his system and reckless driving, Cole appeared in Busselton Magistrates Court last week to plead guilty and face sentencing.
He also pleaded guilty at the same time to a number of additional charges including possessions of cannabis, breaching conditional suspended imprisonment orders by contacting his mother contrary to a family violence restraining order.
Cutting off Cole’s lawyer midway through his defence submissions, Magistrate Linda Keane could not hold back her thoughts on his “ridiculously stupid and dangerous behaviour.”
“I’ve been down here a few years now and part of this work that’s affected me most is doing the coronial matters and how terrifying it is that someone could be driving around and hurt themselves, take their own life and the life of someone else because of stupidity like this,” she said.
“You’re from this area, you know that stretch of road, you know how dangerous it is and yet you were driving tired and with drugs in your system and you caused a serious crash where, thankfully, the worst injuries were bodily harm.
“Do you know the number of people who have died on that stretch of road because of driving like that? If someone was in that front passenger seat (with the victim) they’d probably be dead. It would have been terrifying for them.
“I don’t know how much the general public thinks about it when they’re driving, but I certainly do... that no matter what I’m doing, if I’m keeping to the speed limit and doing the right thing, someone like you could come along and do the wrong thing and I might not end up going home to my family.”
Cole was reduced to tears listening to Magistrate Keane’s lecture as his lawyer told the court he has been actively working to change his life, attending counselling, quitting drugs and had since found work.
While Ms Keane took an extremely “dim” view on drivers who committed such serious offences, a litany of material produced by his lawyer showed the Busselton man had made significant changes since the offence, including glowing references, a positive report from community corrections and his clear remorse.
“I’m not sending you to jail today because I accept what’s been provided to me today, that the person who did those things is not the person I have before me today,” she said.
Rather than prison time, Cole was placed on a 10-month intensive supervision order and issued $4979.50 in fines and court costs.
He was also excluded from driving for 12-months.
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