Truckie jailed after teen left brain damaged

A CRASH that left a teenager with brain injuries and multiple broken bones has seen a truck driver sent to prison.

Ross Graeme MacDonald, 50, pleaded guilty at the Ipswich District Court to dangerous operation of a vehicle causing grievous bodily harm.

The plea came on the morning of a scheduled trial.

The court heard MacDonald was driving a fuel tanker on June 5 last year north along Ipswich-Boonah Rd just before 6pm.

He was turning right onto Beaudesert-Boonah Rd when his truck crashed into a Mitsubishi Mirage severely damaging the car and leaving its two teenage female occupants injured.

The court heard MacDonald told police at the scene he thought the car was in a slip lane to turn left onto the Beaudesert-Boonah Rd.

He started his turn, thinking he would have right of way if the car was turning, but struck the small sedan which was driving straight ahead.

The 19-year-old driver suffered severe injuries including brain injuries as well as multiple broken bones. The car suffered a huge amount of damage, with emergency services having to cut the roof off to access the occupants.

The court heard the driver suffered life threatening injuries including subdural and extradural hematomas and a fracture to her skull.

She remained in intensive care for 16 days and didn't emerge from post-traumatic amnesia for more than a month. She remained in hospital for three months recovering from her injuries and continues to have memory issues.

Judge Greg Koppenol said the sentence hinged on whether MacDonald's mistake could be described as a "momentary inattention" like a driver who looked away to adjust the radio, as MacDonald's defence counsel submitted, or a more serious error of judgement.

Judge Koppenol said he accepted that MacDonald was remorseful for the events and accepted he was in the wrong.

MacDonald was sentenced to 18 months prison, to be suspended after he has served three months and disqualified from driving for two years.

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