DRIVER JAILED FOR FATAL 2010 SMASHadmin
THE grieving parents of Josh Braithwaite-Byrne cannot forgive the speeding hoon who ended their son’s life on a Gold Coast road.
It has been two years since the 21-year-old died in a car crash but his family and friends were too distressed to attend the Southport District Court yesterday where John Pfeil was sentenced to four years in jail, suspended after 10 months.
Pfeil, 35, had racked up six speeding fines in six years before he took a spin in Dover Drive at Burleigh Waters on November 6, 2010.
Police estimated he revved his Toyota Supra coupe to speeds of 100km/h in a 50km/h zone, before losing control at a sharp turn into Kortum Drive.
His car crashed through a wire fence, hit a concrete median strip on Reedy Creek Rd and became airborne before ploughing into Mr Braithwaite-Byrne’s Subaru Forester in the eastbound lanes.
Yesterday Pfeil pleaded guilty in the Southport District Court to driving dangerously causing the death of Mr Braithwaite-Byrne and causing grievous bodily harm to his passenger Harry Clarke.
Mr Braithwaite-Byrne, a crane driver, died at the scene and Mr Clarke sustained multiple life-threatening injuries, including fractures to his spine, face, ribs and left hand, and internal bleeding.
He still needs to have back surgery and cannot work.
Judge Katherine McGinness sentenced Pfeil to four years in jail, with the term to be suspended after 10 months.
She also banned him from driving for five years.
Lawyer Bill Potts said Pfeil had Asperger’s syndrome, which led to his obsession with the car’s capabilities.
He said his client had since vowed never to drive again but had sought to atone in a small way by having therapy, taking an RACQ defensive driving course and completing the Gold Coast Traffic Offenders Program.
Pfeil handed a letter of apology to the court asking for forgiveness and speaking of his wish to trade places with Mr Braithwaite-Byrne.
Crown prosecutor Mark Whitbread said the bereaved family would not accept the apology of Pfeil.
“They are devastated and cannot forgive him,” he said.
Angel Braithwaite told The Bulletin she would never get over the loss of her son. “You can learn to forget a little but never to forgive,” she said.
Since his death she has taken up a role with the volunteer-run Brake Awareness program, which aims to educate Year 11 students on the dangers and risk of driving. visit brake.org.au
By Leah Fineran – Gold Coast News