'Reckless' fatal crash driver will be out in 10 months

BEHIND BARS: Kaylah Hadwen will only spend ten months in jail for causing a car crash in which Matt Cooper, 34, died.
BEHIND BARS: Kaylah Hadwen will only spend ten months in jail for causing a car crash in which Matt Cooper, 34, died.

DESPITE pleading guilty, Kaylah Jodynne Hadwen could still not explain why she sped through three inner-city Give Way signs at night with her lights off.

The new mother's "inexplicable" actions saw the then 18-year-old smash her red Mitsubishi Outlander into the side of Darren Fraser's silver Toyota sports car.

His passenger and friend, Matt Cooper, died in the crash on New Year's Day last year.

Mr Fraser had nine broken ribs and a torn spleen while Hadwen and her three passengers escaped with minor injuries.

Pleading guilty in Bundaberg District Court on Monday Hadwen sat quietly in the dock as she was sentenced to four years jail suspended after ten months on the charges of dangerous driving causing death and dangerous driving causing grievous bodily harm.

Judge Michael Shanahan took into account Hadwen's early plea of guilty, her young age, clear criminal history and that she was a new mother when bringing down the sentence.

Evidence presented to the court retraced the events of the fateful afternoon.

It was New Year's Day and Hadwen, a P-Plate driver who had her licence less than seven months, picked up friends in Bargara before heading back to Bundaberg to pick up more passengers.

On the way back to Bundaberg, Hadwen was seen driving though intersections with her lights turned off.

Just before 7.30pm Hadwen picked up a young man and sped through three more inner-city Give Way signs with her lights out.

It was the third Give Way sign at the corner of Branyan and Woondooma Sts the fatal crash happened.

The speed limit was 50kmh and police investigations showed Hadwen was travelling at 73kmh, give or take 11kmh, when the crash occurred.

Judge Shanahan said evidence showed her light switch was in the off position.

"That to me is totally inexplicable -there is no reason for it," Mr Shanahan said.

"You proceeded through an intersection at speed, with your lights out through a Give Way sign, you collided with a motor vehicle driven by Mr Fraser.

"His passenger Mr Cooper was killed at the scene.

"His death has had devastating effects on his family.

"The offence in my view shows considerable recklessness on your part.

"In my view there is no alternative than a term of imprisonment."

Judge Shanahan said unbeknown to Hadwen she was pregnant at the time of the crash and had since had the baby.

He took the child, Hadwen's post traumatic stress disorder, her genuine remorse and good references into consideration when handing down the sentence.

Topics:  court crash editors picks jail

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