Drug driver in crash that killed mate jailed for five years
A FATHER-OF-ONE fell asleep in the passenger seat and never woke up after his friend and driver, who was high on cocaine and marijuana, crashed on the Sunshine Motorway, killing him instantly.
Mitchell Roy Massey Bennett Bedford, 25, pleaded guilty in Maroochydore District Court today to dangerous operation of a vehicle causing death while intoxicated and drug driving where he was sentenced to five years' imprisonment.
On April 8, 2017 Bedford was camping at Noosa North Shore with a group of friends, which included Troy Crone, when he decided to drive home to Bli Bli at 10pm, the court heard.
Bedford was upset about a conversation relating to his ex-girlfriend, so Mr Crone offered to come for the drive with him.
An hour into the journey, Bedford lost control of the car which crashed and rolled twice - killing a sleeping Mr Crone instantly.
Bedford removed himself from the car and tried to get help from a passer-by.
A woman pulled over and Bedford told her he had fallen asleep at the wheel and had been using drugs. He stopped her from going down the embankment to the crash site.
A couple then pulled over and Bedford told them the same story, but on learning the man was trained in CPR let him go to the car.
The court heard while Bedford was camping, he had between eight and nine alcoholic drinks and turned to "binging" on cocaine after he ran out of marijuana by about 7.30pm.
He was breathalysed on the roadside and returned a reading of 0.029, which was zero by 1.30am.
However, blood tests showed he had "significant" levels of drugs in his system which rendered him six-times more likely to have a crash.
The court heard Bedford had been invited to Mr Crone's viewing and funeral as well as written a letter of apology to his partner of seven years.
Mr Crone and his daughter, who was seven when he died, were "inseparable".
She now suffers from behavioural problems at school since losing her beloved father.
Crown prosecutor Greg Cummings said while Bedford's traffic history was "not dreadful", it still contained concerning aspects such as entries for speeding, careless driving, exceeding the speed limit by more than 20km/h and driving in contravention to a restriction.
Judge Glen Cash said Bedford's actions had wide-reaching impacts, including to "deprive" a young girl of her father and Mr Crone's partner of "companionship".
"The effect on his and her daughter has been dramatic.
"One scarcely needs to speak of the trauma."
Bedford was ordered to serve five years' imprisonment, suspended after 18 months behind bars for an operational period of five years.
He will also be disqualified from driving for two years.
As a New Zealand citizen, Bedford could spend time in a detention centre before his deportation as the sentence puts him in breach of the fit and proper character test.