News

Drunk driver jailed over 16-year-old girl’s death

FEARFUL of getting caught, an intoxicated Errol John Miller sped away from police.

Less than five minutes later a 16-year-old girl was dead.

Passing motorists found the car on its roof on the side of Southern Access Rd near Woorabinda about 7pm on June 10, 2011.

The tragic crash rocked the small Aboriginal community, 170km south-west of Rockhampton.

None more so than the family of the young girl.

But amazingly, they hold no grudges.

During Miller's sentencing yesterday in the Rockhampton District Court, Crown prosecutor Susan Hedge submitted a victim impact statement from the girl's father.

The father said Miller was "like a son" to him and while the pain of losing a child was indescribable, he had forgiven Miller.

Miller, 31, pleaded guilty to one count of dangerous operation of a vehicle causing death.

Ms Hedge said Miller's mate was initially driving the car when the young girl and her sister got in.

However, after the driver went home Miller got behind the wheel.

The court heard police attempted to intercept the vehicle for a random breath test, but Miller drove away.

Contrary to what Miller told a coronial inquest, a pursuit did not commence.

Police received a call out to the road minutes later.

Ms Hedge said Miller was hanging from his seat, held in by his seat belt.

The young girl, who was sitting in the front passenger seat, had been thrown from the car and crushed underneath it.

She died on scene.

The 17-year-old sister, who was in the back seat, and Miller suffered minor injuries.

Forensic investigators found Miller had drifted on to the wrong side of the road. When he tried to pull back, he lost control and the car rolled.

The court heard he was probably doing between 108 and 120kmh.

Ms Hedge said Miller recorded a blood alcohol content of 0.227% - more than four times the legal limit.

She said he had a lengthy criminal and traffic history, including two previous charges of dangerous driving.

Defence barrister Jordan Ahlstrand said alcohol abuse was common in his client's family environment.

He said Miller considered the deceased like a sister and was extremely remorseful.

Miller was sentenced to seven years' jail and disqualified from driving for five years. He has already served 16 months and will be eligible for parole on February 11 next year.

Topics:  drink driving, fatality, rockhampton district court, woorabinda




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