A drug-addicted truck driver who plowed into a stationary car, killed a woman and her young son and seriously injured his three other children near a small town in the Western Australian wheat belt has been sentenced to more than nine years in prison.
- Late night accident killed a young mother and her son
- They were hit by a truck while crashing on the side of a country road
- The truck driver had drugs in his system
WARNING: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander readers are informed that this article contains pictures and names of people who have died.
A jury has found Carl Allan Bridge, 48, guilty of dangerous driving and causing Amy Bropho, 26, and her 10-year-old son Leroy Dawson, near Corrigin, on August 19, 2018.
Bropho’s three other children aged eight, five and three all sustained life-threatening injuries, including broken bones and injuries to the spine and spent months in hospital.
At night, the family was inside the car, which had a trailer fitted and was parked out to the road because they had run out of gas. Mrs Bropho’s partner, the children’s father, had decided to go into Corrigin to get fuel.
Bridge was driving a 38-ton primary mover who was towing two empty grain tails as he slammed into the parked car.
The Perth City Court was told that one of the officers who attended the crash site described it as being “like a bomb site”.
Bridge probably ingested drugs while driving the truck
Bridge’s headlights were only in low beam when he hit the car, meaning his ability to see it had been significantly reduced.
He later told police he had turned off his high beam as he walked around a bend and did not know why he had not put them back on.
A blood sample taken from Bridge about five hours later found methylamphetamine and cannabis in his system.
The level of methylamphetamine was consistent with the fact that he had used it 12 to 18 hours earlier, while the cannabis level was so high that it was likely that he had ingested it earlier in the accident or while driving.
Judge Linda Petrusa noted that other motorists who had turned on their high beam had seen the family car and said the drugs in Bridge’s system had rendered him unable to properly control his vehicle.
“This incapacity manifested itself in the failure to turn on the headlights … you blinded yourself,” Judge Petrusa told him.
The court was told that Bridge had been using cannabis daily since he was about 18 years old, even though he had spent many years working as a truck driver.
Judge Petrusa described the statement’s impact statements from Bropho’s partner and mother as “heartbreaking to read”.
“This was a tragedy that is entirely your fault … others saw the car, you did not do it because you were not fit to drive.”
Bridge was sentenced to nine years and a month in prison, and he was also disqualified from driving for you for years when he was released from prison.
He will have to serve seven years and a month before he can go on probation.
Members of the victims’ families were in court for the verdict, including Bropho’s mother Shirley, who said she was happy the trial was over.
She said she was disappointed with the verdict.
“We have been waiting a little over three years for this and then we will hear the verdict,” she said.
“He can get out and he can get on, we’m still stuck and nothing in the world can change that.”
“I’m disappointed, but what can we do? That’s the verdict.”