A FORMER Kyabram man has been jailed for 15 months after a drunk and drug-fuelled road rampage which left his partner with horrific injuries.
William Dennis Charles, 31, pleaded guilty in Echuca Magistrates Court last Tuesday to a raft of charges including reckless conduct endangering serious injury, negligently cause injury, drunk, drug and disqualified driving, speeding, driving an unregistered vehicle, displaying false plates and 15 counts of contravening bail.
Police prosecutor Senior Constable Rachael Hitchens said on January 15, 2017, Charles was driving erratically throughout the streets of Kyabram at high speeds reaching 130km/h in a 60 zone and more than 100km/h in a 50 zone, overtaking cars and narrowly missing parked cars before losing control and colliding with another car at the intersection of McEwen and McCormick roads about 8pm.
His partner, who was in the front seat, suffered extensive injuries, including four broken ribs, a punctured lung, a broken collar bone and pelvis, and was flown to the Royal Melbourne Hospital.
She also spent two months in a rehabilitation facility.
The passengers in the other car also suffered injuries, including multiple rib fractures, and were taken to Echuca hospital as was Charles.
‘‘His eyes were bloodshot, his speech slurred and he smelled of alcohol,’’ Snr Constable Hitchens said.
Tests revealed his blood alcohol concentration was 0.148 and he had methamphetamine in his system.
Charles said he had drunk half a bottle of Wild Turkey at 5pm that day and had injected speed in the days before.
The court also heard while he was on bail, he had breached his conditions including not being at his address at curfew times and not reporting to police.
Lawyer Kate Freshwater said Charles had significant alcohol and drug issues at the time, caused by growing up in an environment where alcohol abuse was rife.
Drinking alcohol since the age of 13, Charles’ drug use had not started until later which had spiked in the lead up to the offences, Ms Freshwater said.
She said the couple were also homeless at the time, causing a period of instability and volatility, but her client had stopped using alcohol and drugs in January this year after the birth of their second child.
‘‘DHHS were ready to intervene ... and that has been a motivation for Charles to get some help,’’ she said.
The couple has been in supported accommodation in Echuca for the past six weeks as part of a 14-week Aboriginal healing program, which is teaching them parenting and life skills.
Ms Freshwater urged magistrate Megan Aumair to place her client on a community corrections order as he was finally getting his life together.
However, Ms Aumair said no other sentence but a jail term would be appropriate in this instance.
‘‘These types of offences are some of the worst magistrates courts hear,’’ she said.
‘‘Your behaviour on this day is nothing short of appalling. Driving while disqualified in an unregistered vehicle, under the influence of drugs and alcohol while speeding, it doesn’t get much worse.
‘‘Thankfully no-one was killed. I accept that you’ve done some good work to get your life together but it cannot be ignored that you almost killed innocent people and seriously injured your partner.
‘‘It was an extraordinarily dangerous and horrific act.’’
Ms Aumair sentenced Charles to 15 months’ imprisonment with a nine-month non-parole period. She also convicted him and cancelled his licence for four years.