180km/h crash driver’s dark turn
AN ice user who crashed at 180km/h into the back of a car in Melbourne's southeast killing a young father was a "high achiever" who scored in the top 4 per cent in high school before his life took a dark turn, a court has heard.
Before Tomas Targownik's life spiralled into drug use and reckless behaviour, he was a university honours student and beloved by his colleagues.
But his terrible decision on November 18 last year to get behind the wheel after taking methamphetamine left a young dad dead and a family torn apart.
For his actions, he was sentenced today to nine years in jail.
Victorian County Court Judge Paul Lacava acknowledged Targownik was "remorseful" and thanked him for writing a letter of apology to his victims, but said what he did deserved severe punishment.
It was 1.45am on that November morning when Targownik got behind the wheel and sped through Glen Waverley.
In his black Mazda 6, he drove at 216km/h through an intersection and narrowly missed an oncoming vehicle which shook as Targownik sped past.
Then the ice user ran straight into the back of an Uber driver, propelling the victims' car into a light pole where it tore apart and burst into flames. The driver was killed instantly, leaving behind a loving wife and a young boy.
Pictures from the scene show wreckage strewn across several hundred metres. The engine of the victim's car was completely dislodged.
Targownik did not brake when approaching the other car, the court heard. He suffered serious injuries to his legs and arms and has ongoing pain as a result of the crash.
Judge Lacava said Targownik's life spiralled out of control when he reunited with some high school friends who introduced him to the drug ice.
He was experiencing depression at the time and became hooked. He tried to free himself of the addiction but could not. Days before the crash, Targownik began using again after a fight with his mother.
Judge Lacava said Targownik was a high achiever in high school, scoring 96.3 on Tertiary Entrance Rank score and going on to achieve honours at university while studying engineering.
He secured a good job and worked for the same company for six years before quitting to work with his father.
"You led an unblemished life," Judge Lacava told Targownik.
But one blemish is all it takes.
"By your actions, a human life has been lost," Judge Lacava said today. "I accept that this offending aside, you have been a person of good character."
The victim's family expressed in impact statements that their lives had been changed forever.
Targownik was jailed for a minimum of six years and will not be eligible for parole until at least 2024.