Woman sues meth truck driver almost $1m over horror crash

A TULLY woman who suffered brain damage after her car was hit by a semi-trailer driven by a man high on ice is suing him and his insurer for almost $1 million.

Journalist Sari Hyytinen, 39, was stopped at roadworks on the Tully Mission Beach Rd in September 2016 when she was rear-ended by a Kenilworth truck driven by Marc Anthony Palmer, 38.

Her vehicle then crashed into a caravan in front of them.

She was hospitalised for more than three months. She was forced to quit her job editing a local newspaper and stopped studying for her masters degree.

Palmer was found to have both methylamphetamines and amphetamines in his system at the time and was convicted of dangerous driving causing grievous bodily harm in 2018.

He was given a wholly suspended two-year jail term and banned from driving for nine months.

Truck driver Marc Anthony Palmer received a wholly suspended sentence for dangerous driving causing grievous bodily harm after the prime mover he was driving crashed into a ute seriously injuring Sari Hyytinen.
Truck driver Marc Anthony Palmer received a wholly suspended sentence for dangerous driving causing grievous bodily harm after the prime mover he was driving crashed into a ute seriously injuring Sari Hyytinen.

It was appealed for being manifestly excessive which was knocked back because it took too long to reach the appeal. The sentence caused both family and community furore after the sentencing judge suggested the drugs in Palmer's system would have made him "more alert".

Her father Veli Hyytinen labelled the result "a joke".

"My daughter nearly died and he got off scot-free," he said at the time.

Ms Hyytinen, who was studying to become a forensic mental health practitioner, has launched legal action in the Cairns Supreme Court, suing Palmer and his insurer RACQ for just over $990,000.

Truck driver Marc Anthony Palmer (blue shirt) walks free from the Cairns courthouse after pleading guilty to dangerous driving causing grievous bodily harm over a crash on the Bruce Hwy in 2016.
Truck driver Marc Anthony Palmer (blue shirt) walks free from the Cairns courthouse after pleading guilty to dangerous driving causing grievous bodily harm over a crash on the Bruce Hwy in 2016.

In the claim, obtained by the Cairns Post, it alleges the crash was "occasioned by the negligence" of Palmer.

It alleged he failed to keep lookout, was speeding excessively in the circumstances, failed to try and avoid the collision, sound his alarm, was driving without due care and attention and was in dangerous proximity to Ms Hyytinen's vehicle.

Along with her head injury, which caused brain damage, the claim alleges she also suffered facial lacerations, left-sided paralysis, visual impairment and lost her sense of smell and had diminished sense of taste.

The claim, totalling $991,672.37, is based on her past and future loss of income, medical and ongoing care expenses and other damages.

Palmer and the insurer are yet to file any documents in court.

The case is set down for a directions hearing on July 22.

Originally published as Woman sues meth truck driver for almost $1m over horror crash



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