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Guilty verdict upheld for Pacific Hwy fatal crash driver

Rescue services try frantically to save the lives of two people trapped inside this vehicle involved in a double fatality on the Pacific Highway at Chatsworth Island south of the Mororo Bridge.
Rescue services try frantically to save the lives of two people trapped inside this vehicle involved in a double fatality on the Pacific Highway at Chatsworth Island south of the Mororo Bridge. Deborah Novak

A WOMAN who drove for 20 hours straight before crashing and killing two people on the Pacific Hwy has had her appeal dismissed in the NSW Court of Appeals.

Adel Louise Nation was driving from Victoria to Brisbane with her three children when she lost control of her fully laden Land Rover in November 2011.

She had been on the road for 20 hours, through the night and had covered almost 1600km by the time she crashed near Chatsworth, between Grafton and Ballina.

Nation tried to merge between two trucks when her four-wheel-drive slid into the path of an oncoming Tarago van.

The vehicles collided, causing massive damage to the front of the van and killing its two occupants, Leeton couple Robert, 62, and Sue Jones, 51.

Nation's son was also seriously injured.

She was not sentenced until more than three years after the fatal crash, receiving a three-year prison term with an 18-month non-parole period for dangerous driving causing death in February last year.

The Court of Criminal Appeal on Wednesday dismissed Nation's appeal to have the guilty verdict overturned.

"First, having driven for 20 hours through the night at an average speed of almost 80kmh, the jury was entitled to infer that she had had very little rest and would have been, as she stated to (witness) Ms Scott, 'tired'," Justice John Basten said.

"Secondly, she appears to have been on the telephone (albeit hands free) to her husband at the time of the accident.

"Thirdly, she had apparently made no attempt to slow down even when it was apparent that the lane she was in was about to end and that there was a large truck alongside her (or at best just behind her) in the outside lane.

"Fourthly, the manoeuvre she appeared to have undertaken to merge into the outside lane from the left hand shoulder of the road was so fraught with risk as to be dangerous in itself."

Nation will be eligible for parole on August 12.

-ARM NEWSDESK

Topics:  editors picks pacific highway


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