Che Curyer, 24, was sentenced in Perth Magistrate’s Court by Chief Magistrate Steven Heath after pleading guilty to careless driving causing death.
As he walked free from court, Curyer said he had expected to be jailed and was sorry for the pain he had caused the victim’s family.
“I killed someone’s little girl. How do you think that feels?” he said. “I’m sorry, but it was an accident. I’ve got a family to think of.”
The devastated parents of crash victim Joanna Taylor slammed the penalty as inadequate.
Curyer, an L-plater, was driving a Holden Colorado ute with two passengers that veered off a remote stretch of Eyre Highway and rolled near Balladonia Roadhouse about 1000km east of Perth just after 4.30am on December 23, 2016.
The ute ended up in a ditch. Curyer left the crash scene and was found walking along the highway the next day.
Ms Taylor died from injuries suffered in the crash and her boyfriend, Michael Nunez, was injured.
Curyer was due to face court in November 2017 but failed to appear. He was extradited to WA from SA last month after an arrest warrant was issued.
Ms Taylor’s mother, Jeannette, was in court for the sentencing and appeared agitated as the penalty was being handed down. At one point she yelled to Curyer, “You killed my daughter”.
Mrs Taylor said outside court Curyer had never apologised to them over their daughter’s death and that they were frustrated he had previously not turned up for court appearances.
“His life went back to normal the day the police let him out of the hospital to go and celebrate Christmas with his family,” she said. “We haven’t had Christmas since.”
“To not turn up and have to be extradited, you know you are guilty, you know you have done wrong.”
Mrs Taylor said the pain her family had gone through since her daughter’s death was indescribable.
The maximum penalty for careless driving causing death is three years jail or a $36,000 fine.
The charge and penalty were introduced in 2016. Previously, motorists who failed to pay due care and attention, but whose behaviour was not deemed dangerous, could only be charged with careless driving and fined $600.
Ken Taylor said the penalty handed to Curyer over his daughter’s death sent the wrong message.
“We were expecting jail,” Mr Taylor said. “We had already been told (the maximum was) three years, now it had gone down to $2,500. “(Others) can do exactly what he did, stand up there and give a load of b....... and get away with it. It is just wrong.”
This article originally appeared on PerthNow.