Excessive alcohol use is not a quaint Australian cultural trait but a devastating epidemic, says a judge who jailed a Victorian drink-driver involved in a fatal crash.
Timothy Watson, 24, of Cairnlea, was sentenced to 10 years and three months’ jail after pleading guilty in the County Court to culpable driving causing the death of 16-year-old Ebony Dunsworth last year.
He also admitted causing serious injury to another two passengers and stealing the car he crashed at Nar Nar Goon, in the Gippsland region, in the early hours of October 31.
Watson had a blood-alcohol concentration of 0.139 and was driving at speeds up to 180km/h when the car ploughed through a roundabout, hitting a street sign and a concrete tunnel before rolling several times.
He was unlicensed with prior convictions for driving and alcohol-related offences.
In jailing Watson for a minimum seven years on Friday, Judge Frank Gucciardo said firm sentences were urgently required to remind motorists of the dangers of irresponsible driving, especially when combined with alcohol abuse.
He said the community needed to accept it had a problem with alcohol.
“Its inappropriate use is not harmless or a quaint cultural trait – it is an epidemic which devastates lives,” Judge Gucciardo said.