Simon Ashley Goodman was coming down from an ice high when he fell asleep and collided with a tree, with tragic consequences.
Simon Ashley Goodman was coming down from an ice high when he fell asleep and collided with a tree, with tragic consequences. Brenda Strong GLA160511DRIV

Drug driving dad crashes into tree, killing his young son

A SARINA dad was coming down on the drug ice when he fell asleep at the wheel and crashed into a tree, killing his young son.

Simon Ashley Goodman had failed to properly secure 22-month-old Ashton Ray Goodman in his child seat before he hit the road.

Further, only five months later the 33-year-old was caught again driving under the influence of methamphetamines (ice). 

Goodman, a former miner and commercial fisher, fronted Mackay District Court in custody on Friday, after serving 10 months and nine days in jail.

He pleaded guilty to dangerous operation of a vehicle causing death while intoxicated about 1.30am on May 21, 2015 at Armstrong Beach.

Goodman also pleaded guilty to driving under the influence of ice and failing to secure his son in his child safety seat on the same day.

Other charges included driving under the influence of ice on October 7, 2015, possessing cannabis on May 14, 2016, failing to surrender into custody on May 17, 2016, contravening police between March 14-22, 2016 and breaching bail on March 18, 2016. 

Goodman angled in his seat to face the judge during the hearing, showing little emotion.

Crown prosecutor Matt Hynes gave the facts of the case and Goodman's criminal and traffic history.

Goodman had a limited criminal past, linked to drug use, but had his licence disqualified several times and had been caught drink driving previously, Mr Hynes said.

On the day of the crash, Goodman was driving along Miran Khan Drive in Armstrong Beach when his car left the road and hit a tree.

Goodman was running on little sleep.

"Of most concern, he had 0.77mg of methamphetamines in his system," Mr Hynes said.

"So your honour has some reference point for that, 0.1mg means it's at a toxic level ... 0.77mg is a high dose."

He said the crash had a "gross impact" on Ashton's family and tendered a victim impact statement.

Mr Hynes tendered similar cases in which sentences of about eight years (suspended at the one-third mark) were handed down.

He also called for Goodman's licence to be disqualified absolutely.

Defence barrister Scott McLennan (instructed by solicitor Aaron Sellentin of Barron and Allen Solicitors) said Goodman had used ice a day before the crash, not on the day.

Goodman had started using drugs after his relationship with his partner and mother of his child broke down and he lost his job, Mr McLennan said. 

He added Goodman lived with diagnosed anxiety and depression in the lead up to the crash, which influenced his use of drugs. 

Moreover, Mr McLennan said Goodman also suffered the loss of his son as a direct result of his actions, a "devastating punishment" leaving him with extreme guilt and remorse. 

The court was also told Goodman's mother had refitted the child seat in his car while on painkillers, such as endone (oxycodone hydrochloride), and may have failed to secure the seat properly.

But Mr Hynes argued Goodman's car didn't even contain the proper anchor points and had other flaws, meaning a seat could not have been secured.

There was significant discussion around Goodman's apparent mental health issues, and it's possible lessening of his sentence.

Judge Douglas McGill said the only evidence Goodman suffered depression was a report from an intern doctor, which was not sufficient. 

"My ultimate submission is that your honour sentence my client to a period of six years imprisonment, (with a) parole eligibility date after two years," Mr McLennan said.

He asked for time to chase up additional documentation to prove Goodman's mental health issues. 

The prosecution said that was "unsatisfactory", considering family of the little boy who was killed had attended the hearing.

However, Judge McGill and Mr McLennan both indicated Goodman's mental health was an important factor.

Judge McGill adjourned the case until a date to be fixed.

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