P-plater’s ‘reckless’ ride ends with prison sentence
P-PLATE driver Caitlin Alexandra Peacock wept when she was jailed for a "rollercoaster" ride that left a passenger with a fractured spine and internal injuries.
Cairns District Court heard Peacock, now 20, ignored her passengers' pleas to slow down on Lake Morris Drive, Kanimbla, in November last year.
She was jailed for at least three months over the crash that left her car 5m down an embankment.
Crown prosecutor Nathan Crane told the court Peacock ignored the signposted suggested turning speeds on the tight, winding road, driving with a "dangerously immature approach".
Peacock had driven three passengers, including her sister, to the lookout on the unlit road to Copperlode Dam at 9.30pm.
It was on the return journey that disaster struck.
Mr Crane said Peacock's car was heard "screeching through corners both up and down".
"She was told by people in the car to slow down, particularly her sister, but she was not perturbed," he said.
"Her mindset at the time was that it was fun."
Peacock straddled lines as she approached her corners and took one tight right hand turn at 65km/h, 45km faster than the recommended speed.
Her wheels locked and the hatchback careened down an embankment before coming to rest in a ditch.
One passenger was left in intensive care with three fractured vertebrae, a displaced sternum, a fractured tibia and a pulmonary contusion.
Peacock's sister - who was not wearing a seatbelt and was facing backwards on the front passenger seat at the time - also suffered a spinal injury.
The driver called triple-0 but when paramedics arrived, Peacock would not talk.
"She could not speak at the scene - she was apparently in shock," Mr Crane said.
The court heard she would later take full responsibility for the crash and urged her sister to be honest with police.
"She accepts she acted foolishly - that her driving placed herself and others in the car in jeopardy," Josh Trevino, defending, said.
Peacock pleaded guilty to dangerous operation of a vehicle causing grievous bodily harm.
Judge Vicki Loury QC said Peacock "must have known" she placed her passengers in harm's way.
"Your driving was described as reckless … like a rollercoaster," Judge Loury said.
"It is appropriate you serve actual imprisonment."
She sentenced Peacock to 18 months in jail, to be suspended after three months for two years.
Peacock was disqualified from holding a driver's licence for at least 12 months.