P-plater jailed for 15 months

TEENAGE P-plate driver Vaughan Cumming has been jailed for 15 months after trying to escape Tweed/Byron police in a pursuit during which he crashed his Commodore at high speed into a Toyota Camry on Kyogle Road at Bray Park, west of Murwillumbah.

The Camry's innocent driver Leanne Burns received life-threatening injuries and was trapped unconscious inside the wreckage before being released and taken to The Tweed Hospital.

Despite his two mates' pleas to stop and pull over, Cumming continued, overtaking cars and reaching a speed of 120 km/h in the 80km zone before crashing.

Cumming, 19, of Murwillumbah, had only held his red provisional licence three weeks before his dangerous driving antics, his licence being previously disqualified when he was caught drink-driving.

Cumming pleaded guilty in Lismore District Court to aggravated dangerous driving causing grievous bodily harm to Ms Burns while escaping a police pursuit at 6pm on August 13 last year.

Judge Roy McLoughlin sentenced Cumming to two-and-a-half years jail and set a non-parole of 15 months, making the teen eligible for release in September 2011. He will serve the remaining 15 months of his sentence under the supervision of Probation Services.

It was revealed by his defence Cumming had cannabis and alcohol issues and was known to suffer serious depression.

After taking into account the seriousness of the dangerous driving and the injuries to Ms Burns, Cumming was disqualified from driving for four years until August 12, 2013.



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