A Northern NSW man has been sentenced for a crash which left another driver with serious injuries.
A Northern NSW man has been sentenced for a crash which left another driver with serious injuries.

A moment asleep at the wheel leads to time behind bars

A MAN who told police he fell asleep at the wheel before a serious head-on crash near Brunswick Heads will remain behind bars until next year.

Aaron Joseph Baker, 36, was driving a Ford Focus north on Gulgan Rd at Brunswick Heads when he crossed to the wrong side of the road and collided head-on with a Hyundai i30 being driven by a 75-year-old man on the morning of Saturday, April 18 this year.

A third car was damaged after the i30 spun around but that driver was uninjured.

The 75-year-old was trapped in his car for some time and sustained serious injuries.

He was serious but stable when taken by ambulance to Uncle Tom's and loaded into the Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter.

But his condition deteriorated en route to the Gold Coast University Hospital and he was placed in intensive care.

While in hospital, he suffered a cardiac arrest and his ultimate injuries involved breaks to 80 per cent of his ribs, a fractured jaw, deflation of both lungs, fractures to his hip, spine, knee, arm and ankle, among other things.

He spent time in an induced coma.

Baker was convicted of negligent driving occasioning grievous bodily harm and failing to have an interlock device fitted to his car when he failed to front court on August 6.

Police found Baker in possession of an gel blaster pistol - illegal in NSW - which resembled a Glock on Razorback Rd in Tweed Heads in September.
Police found Baker in possession of an gel blaster pistol - illegal in NSW - which resembled a Glock on Razorback Rd in Tweed Heads in September.

In September he was separately charged with disqualified driving and weapon offences, including possession of an illegal gel blaster which imitated a Glock pistol, in Tweed Heads and pleaded guilty to these offences.

He faced Tweed Heads Local Court for sentencing on Wednesday.

Defence solicitor Peter O'Donnell said his client understood the gravity of the incident and was remorseful for the harm he had caused.

Baker, a father of five, was supported by his father in court.

Magistrate Geoff Dunlevy took into account Baker's degree of negligence and the level of harm caused by the crash.

"Essentially you momentarily fell asleep," Mr Dunlevy said.

"You should not have ignored the warning signs of your fatigue."

He said the harm caused was "very substantial and at times was life threatening".

Taking into account his remorse and other factors, he sentenced Baker to 15 months behind bars, with a six month non-parole period ending in March.


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