- Warning: This story contains graphic images
A man who caused a head-on crash that took another man’s life on Mother’s Day has been fined and given three demerit points.
Graeme John Stronach, 60, pleaded guilty to failing to keep left of the dividing line.
The West Launceston man appeared before Magistrate Sharon Cure in the Launceston Magistrates Court on Tuesday.
On May 13, Stronach veered onto the incorrect side of the West Tamar Highway at Loira just before 4.20pm.
Crash investigators found Stronach did not brake when his Toyota Landcruiser crossed over double white lines or before he crashed into the ute Daniel Swan was driving.
Mr Swan, 28, saw Stronach on the wrong side of the road, so he locked his brakes and tried to veer towards the dirt while towing a trailer with two motorbikes.
Mr Swan died at the scene. Stronach was airlifted to hospital with life-threatening injuries.
When he was interviewed by police just days after the crash Stronach said he had no memory of it or why he was on the wrong side of the road.
Crash investigators ruled out speed, drugs, weather, alcohol and mobile phone use as factors.
Stronach was only charged with a traffic offence, restricting the penalty he could be given to a fine and demerit points.
Magistrate Cure said the charge was a road rule, so she was constrained by that.
“However grave the consequences are I’m constrained by that,” she said.
Magistrate Cure fined Stronach the maximum penalty of $1630 and three demerit points.
“I don’t think very much more can be said other than it was a very significant and tragic event,” she said.
Magistrate Cure also commended Daniel’s mum Cheryl Swan for bravely reading out a victim impact statement before Stronach was sentenced.
Ms Swan told the court from the moment she heard about the horrific crash, her life had been a living nightmare.
“I am now traumatised every time I drive on Tasmanian roads, especially knowing that there are individuals who, having already shown total disregard and disrespect for the lives and right of other road users to travel and arrive safely without injury or death, are still legally allowed to continue to drive on Tasmanian roads,” she said.
“Daniel’s right to live and experience all the fun times, experiences and special occasions with family and treasured friends has been taken from us all. Death cannot be undone. Death is final, absolute, forever. This crash cannot be undone.”