Drunk, speeding, unlicensed: Jail for driver who killed mate

FATAL IMPACT: The remains of the car that was involved in the fatal crash.
FATAL IMPACT: The remains of the car that was involved in the fatal crash. john mccutcheon

NOT even a warning from a fellow motorist was enough to stop Andrew George Johnson from a drunken mission that claimed the life of his close mate.

Johnson, 51, was drunk, unlicensed and doing about 130kmh in a 60kmh zone when he crashed at the Bruce Hwy interchange on Maroochydore Rd at Forest Glen about 8.45pm on July 7, 2013.

The impact penetrated a guard rail and the car launched through the air for about 13m before coming to rest on the ground on its roof. Johnson was trapped inside, his passenger lay dying on the ground.

Efforts were made to resuscitate him, but he succumbed to his injuries at the scene.

A reading taken from Johnson two hours after the crash showed he had a blood alcohol level of 0.201.

Details of Johnson's traffic history were read out in Maroochydore District Court yesterday after he pleaded guilty to dangerous operation of a motor vehicle causing death while adversely affected by an intoxicating substance and excessively speeding.

Judge Moynihan heard Johnson was already on a 12-month suspended sentence issued in Victoria when the fatal crash occurred.

Johnson also had drink-driving form in Queensland, having been convicted in 2003 for giving a reading of 0.167.

The court heard Johnson then gave a reading of 0.143 after being involved in a crash just 10 days later.

Crown prosecutor Dzenita Balic tendered victim impact statements from the victim's father, sister, son and daughter, which relayed the gravity of their grief.

A letter written on Sunday by Johnson detailed his remorse for killing his mate.

Ms Balic said a member of the public, who was concerned about Johnson's driving, had approached him in Mooloolaba about 30 minutes before the crash.

Police were called, but were unable to locate Johnson before the fatal impact.

Sunshine Coast Daily coverage of the July 7, 2013 crash.
Sunshine Coast Daily coverage of the July 7, 2013 crash.

Defence barrister John Jacob said his client was a man with clear ability and talents whose life had been significantly marred by the abuse of drugs and alcohol.

Mr Jacob said Johnson's crash injuries included a punctured lung, broken ribs and fractures to his vertebrae which required three-and-a-half weeks in hospital.

He said Johnson had a previous job offer as a university lecturer, which he did not take up, but wanted to pursue a teaching career path when he was eventually released.

Judge Moynihan told Johnson he had treated previous court orders with contempt and was a danger to the community.

Johnson was sentenced to seven years in prison.

He will be eligible for parole in July, 2017.

He was given an absolute driving ban.

Topics:  crash drink-driver editors picks jail

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