Nanango crash robs teen of his vision
A YOUNG man who drink and drug drove after a friend's party has left a teenager with lasting damage, including permanent loss of peripheral vision in his left eye.
Mitchell Francis Weeks, 23, pleaded guilty in Kingaroy District Court this week to dangerous driving causing grievous bodily harm while adversely affected by intoxicating substances and also driving without a licence.
On October25, 2014 the court heard Weeks drank heavily before attending a friend's party in Nanango.
At the party, Crown prosecutor Matt Hynes said Weeks told another party goer, 18, he wanted to drive his car.
The 18-year-old told Weeks he wasn't allowed to, but Weeks took the keys and got into the driver's seat anyway.
Mr Hynes said the 18-year-old man then got into the passenger's seat because "he didn't know where he was going with the car".
Weeks then drove off down the road reaching speeds of 160kmh in a 60kmh zone.
The court heard he was repeatedly told to "slow down" and to stop the vehicle but Weeks did not.
Mr Hynes said the car reached an intersection but failed to brake in time and became airborne for 30m, before rolling and landing in a paddock.
The 18-year-old passenger suffered a suppressed skull fracture penetrating 11mm into his brain, a lamina fracture to his skull, and contusions to his spleen very near to his spine.
"As a result he was in hospital for two months, and has lost eyesight in his left eye," Mr Hynes said.
"His peripheral vision is so bad he won't be able to obtain a license ever again."
Since the incident late last year, the prosecution said Weeks only attempted to apologise to his 18-year-old passenger on Facebook, and this was not good enough.
"There are other avenues to express an apology than contacting someone over Facebook," he said.
District Judge Julie Ryrie told Weeks he faced 14 years imprisonment for his offence.
"That's how seriously the courts consider the charge," she said.
Judge Ryrie said the permanent damage Weeks caused to his victim was "quite devastating".
"He has been left with a head injury causing him to have permanent brain damage," she said.
"He will never be able to hold a drivers' licence, for a young man that can be quite devastating.
"Especially out here in the country, a licence is a necessity, not a luxury."
Judge Ryrie said his offence was made worse because he was under the influence of both cannabis and alcohol, with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.124.
"And you were told repeatedly to stop and you didn't, in fact you went faster," she said.
Judge Ryrie sentenced Weeks to three years imprisonment, suspended after 10 months and disqualified him from driving for three years.