Driver jailed for fatal crash
BRIAN Gibson worked at Paget and was doing a 2pm to 11pm shift, so he rode his motorcycle home to South Mackay to have dinner with his wife and play with his seven-month-old son.
The 26-year-old steel fabricator never made it back to work alive.
Just minutes after cuddling his son and kissing his wife goodbye he was killed in a head-on crash with a four-wheel drive within 2km of his Paradise St home.
The vehicle driver was Raymond Patrick Maher, a 45-year-old concrete driller who had just worked 10 days straight, 16 hours a day, and who was driving back to his Paget work yard.
The fatal crash occurred about 9pm on August 12, 2009, in a 60kmh section at the intersection of Connors and East Boundary Rds.
Maher pleaded guilty in the District Court in Mackay yesterday to dangerous driving causing death.
Brian Gibson's wife, Helena Jarvis, another family member and his father Fred were in court to hear the sentence.
Victim impact statements were tendered and Fred Gibson stood up and spoke for his son.
"Brian's general riding...he was a very good rider. He had a lot of training when he was young. He grew up riding with me," Fred Gibson said.
"If he had half a chance he would have leaned and rolled.
"Emotionally, he will be missed and will continue to be missed. He was a good kid.
"His brothers still can't talk about it. Even I have trouble coping.
"It did a lot of damage though the family. It has been a very hard time.
"He wasn't given a chance."
The court heard that alcohol and speed were not involved by either party.
Brian Gibson's bike left 5m of skid marks just before the impact.
At the scene of the crash one witness heard Raymond Maher say: "I'm sorry, I'm sorry. I'm sorry. I didn't see him."
Since the crash Maher has suffered post traumatic stress disorder, disturbed sleep, an inability to concentrate, disruptive thoughts, and ongoing feelings of guilty, defence barrister Paddy Cullinane told the court.
He is now on WorkCover benefits and he supports his elderly mother who suffers dementia and he pays $2750 a month for her to be in a home.
During yesterday's case Maher spent most of the 90 minutes in the dock with his head hung down, his face in his hands, occasionally wiping his eyes.
Judge John Baulch, SC, said Maher must have had a prolonged period of inattention and must have been tired. The judge accepted that Maher was clearly remorseful.
Maher was jailed for three years, to be suspended after serving nine months, and he was disqualified from driving for four years.