Crash haunts driver who lives with guilt of killing friend

WHETHER it was birds distracting Anh Ngoc Nguyen or he was driving too close to the road's edge, a judge has put the crash that claimed a life down to momentary inattention.

Judge Deborah Richards found there was no deliberate recklessness or carelessness when Nguyen swerved off the road while driving to his family farm in Coominya with one of his close friends.

After remanding Nguyen in custody over the weekend, Judge Richards ordered on Tuesday he be released on a wholly suspended 18-month jail sentence.

That sentence will hang over his head for four years, which means he cannot commit any criminal offences in that time or it could be activated.

Judge Richards disqualified Nguyen, who had a bad traffic history, from driving for four years.

"There's no reason to think you're anything but remorseful for what happened," she said.

"These cases are always tragic, particularly where they're cases of momentary inattention.

"On the one hand there is normally a good citizen who finds themselves in the dock but then there's also the tragic loss of life that occurs as a result of carelessness or, in this case, momentary inattention."

Nguyen, a married father of two now living at Lowood, had pleaded guilty to dangerous driving causing death on April 21, 2011.

He lost control of the Suzuki wagon he was driving, spun across the road, hit a tree and rolled.

Nyugen's passenger, who was not wearing a seatbelt, was thrown from the car and killed.

Nguyen was also injured and had to be airlifted to the Princess Alexandra Hospital.

Judge Richards said the man's death, just before his 30th birthday and Easter, had a devastating effect on his family, especially his mother.

The court had earlier heard how the crash haunted Nguyen, who had to live with the guilt of causing his friend's death and drove past the crash site every day on his way to and from work.


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