Roadworker death trial
By SAMANTHA TURNBULL
KEVIN Lesleighter died in the arms of the man who accidentally killed him.
That man was 52-year-old Ojars Aleksis Rolavs, of Banora Point, who was yesterday given a two-year suspended prison sentence in the Lismore Local Court for negligent driving occasioning death.
Mr Lesleighter, a Murwillumbah Roads and Traffic Authority employee and respected member of the Tweed community, was killed after the mobile road sign he was setting up was hit by Rolavs' car on the Pacific Highway near the Tweed Heads South offramp of the Tweed Bypass on January 30.
Magistrate Nick Reimer also disqualified Rolavs from driving for two years.
Rolavs wept in court as Mr Lesleighter's daughter Carolyn Wiley read an emotional statement about the impact of her father's death on the family.
"His grandchildren talk to the stars every night looking for advice," she said.
"We miss him at day-to-day events like eating breakfast or watching his favourite TV show with his empty chair."
Rolavs' lawyer said his client would internally punish himself forever.
He said Rolavs had been working incredibly long hours prior to the crash and had looked over his right shoulder for a split second when the accident occurred. He had lost his line on the road and was upon Mr Lesleighter before he could correct his vehicle.
Rolavs was the same age as Mr Lesleighter and worked in a similar job, slashing roadside grass.
Mr Lesleighter's death prompted calls by Tweed emergency service personnel for greater caution by motorists when approaching roadworks or crash sites.
After the court judgement, Mr Lesleighter's three children said they were satisfied with Rolavs' sentence.
"We're as happy as we can be," said Mrs Wiley.