A “reckless” speeding drunk driver who killed his friend and seriously injured two more in a “horrific” crash north of Brisbane has been sentenced to eight-and-a-half years in jail.
- Four friends were in the car when it crashed in Bray Park after a party in 2018
- Dion Gundy died instantly and Daniel Hegarty suffered a catastrophic brain injury
- Driver Jerome Pilot pleaded guilty to dangerous driving and was sentenced today
Jerome Pilot, 25, was four times over the limit when he got behind the wheel of a car after leaving a party in Bray Park in September 2018.
Pilot had only been driving for a few minutes when he lost control, crashing the car through a front yard before it became “mangled” around a tree.
Dion Gundy, 22, was in the front passenger seat and died instantly.
Daniel Hegarty, 19, and Christine Extross, 19, were sitting in the back and suffered serious injuries.
They spent a considerable time in hospital receiving ongoing treatment.
Mr Hegarty suffered a “catastrophic” brain injury in the crash and requires extensive rehabilitation to learn how to walk and talk again.
Police inspect the car wreckage of the crash, which killed Dion Gundy on September 28, 2018.(ABC News
Driver on parole at the time of crash
Pilot last year pleaded guilty to dangerous driving causing death and driving under the influence.
During a sentencing hearing in the Brisbane District Court on Friday, Pilot’s lawyer Carl Martinovic said his client had suffered skull fractures during the crash and a neuropsychological report determined he was of “low average intelligence”.
Mr Martinovic said his client had “good prospects” of rehabilitation.
Dion Gundy’s mother Suzanne Gittoes spoke outside court about her son’s death in the Bray Park car crash in 2018.(ABC News: Talissa Siganto
“Fortunately for him, he’s recovering,” he said.
“He still has aptitude enough to certainly rehabilitate to be a better person in the community.”
The court heard Pilot had been on parole at the time of the crash for other drinking-related offences and was subject to a condition that he could not consume alcohol.
Mr Martinovic said his client had no active traffic history but had “desensitised exposure” to violence and alcohol as a child.
“This was not a protracted act of dangerous driving over a number of kilometres it was no more than 1.5 kilometres,” Mr Martinovic said.
“This is a disenfranchised young man more susceptible to excessive drinking.”
Before receiving his sentence, Pilot addressed the court from the dock, expressing his remorse.
“I just want to apologise to the Gundy family for what I’ve caused them. I just want to say sorry for that,” he said.
Mr Gundy’s mother Suzanne Gittoes’ victim impact statement said she had suffered “nothing but pain and heartache” since her son’s death.
“My heart has been shattered into a million pieces,” she said.
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Outside court, she added that nothing would bring her son back.
“[I’m] just trying to live every day without my boy around.”
The victim impact statement from Daniel Hegarty said he had “no quality of life” after the crash, which had “completely ruined my whole life”.
“[It] is a tragedy that shouldn’t have happened,” the statement said.
“This accident has changed me.”
Pilot has already spent 634 days in pre-sentence custody and will be eligible for parole later this year.