Rhiannon Ponto, 24, was found guilty by a Supreme Court jury of dangerous driving causing death
Rhiannon Ponto, 24, was found guilty by a Supreme Court jury of dangerous driving causing death

Woman jailed over crash that killed father of four

A WOMAN who drank rum and smoked a joint before causing a crash that killed a father-of-four and badly injured a woman outside Pine Creek last year has been jailed for 10 months.

Rhiannon Ponto, 24, was found guilty by a Supreme Court jury of dangerous driving causing death and dangerous driving causing serious harm after a five-day trial earlier this month.

The court heard the trio were driving around looking for grog on January 24 when they bought a 30-can block of VB and two bottles of rum, which they all drank some of before sharing a joint.

Ponto took over the driving after her brother-in-law lay down in the back seat and fell asleep and she was behind the wheel about 30km south of Pine Creek when she encountered an extended right hand curve.

About 1.5km into the curve the car's wheels left the road on the left-hand side after Ponto took her eyes off the road and she overcorrected into the oncoming lane while travelling in excess of 100km/h.

In sentencing, Justice Peter Barr said Ponto was "in a state of panic" when she overcorrected again, causing the "terrible accident in which the vehicle rolled several times and pitched end to end".

Ponto was tested three hours later and her blood-alcohol content at the time of the crash was calculated as having been between 0.113 and 0.172.

Justice Barr said Ponto had claimed she had drank one or two cans of VB after the crash but he rejected that assertion as "quite improbable".

"I consider it most unlikely that you would have stopped to pick up and then open a can of VB and then taken the time to drink it when you could hear (the woman) screaming for help," he said.

Justice Barr said he had received a victim impact statement from the dead man's father, who spoke of his "great hurt and sadness", as well as from his mother and aunt.

"Those ladies refer to (his) relationship with his four daughters and their sadness at his loss, he was also a father to many of his nieces and nephews," he said.

Justice Barr said the man was remembered as a hardworking father "who contributed a great deal to the Beswick community".

Ponto was sentenced to three years and six months in jail, to be suspended after 10 months.

 

 

jason.walls1@news.com.au

 

 

 

Originally published as Woman jailed over crash that killed father of four



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