By Cam Lucadou-Wells
A drunk and speeding P-plate driver who ran a red light and catastrophically crashed into another motorist at Springvale Junction has been sentenced to youth detention.
Diu Yual, 20, of Cranbourne, pleaded guilty to negligently causing serious injury, drink-driving and dangerous conduct at the County Court of Victoria.
About 4.45am on 14 January, Yual drove home from a party at Richmond with five passengers along Princes Highway.
When he ran the red, Yual was estimated to be travelling about 113 km/h in an 80 km/h zone. His alcohol blood level was 0.207.
His car T-boned the passenger side of a Corolla turning right.
According to the witness, it was an “almighty bang” and the sound of a “bomb going off”, Judge Claire Quin noted during sentencing.
Major Collision Investigation Unit detectives found no sign of either car braking before impact.
The Corolla’s driver, a husband and father of two who was on the way for work, was pulled out of the car unconscious.
Spending days in ICU, the man required life-saving surgery for severe brain injuries.
He required an artificial ventilator for two weeks, and later a tracheostomy – a tube inserted in his throat for breathing.
The man was kept under deep sedation for nearly the same time. He was not released from hospital for several months.
His prognosis was “not good”, according to a letter from his doctor tendered to the court.
The man had since moved out of the family home to live with his parents, requiring 24-hour supervision.
According to his partner’s victim-impact statement, the impact on the man and his family had been “massive”.
“My life will never be the same. My boys will never be the same,” she wrote.
Most of Yual’s passengers were not wearing seatbelts at the time. One was trapped in the car, all were hospitalised.
Yual, who initially gave a false name and birth date to police, suffered multiple fractures. He required surgery for serious neck and spinal injuries and is still on painkillers.
A South Sudanese refugee, Yual migrated with his family to Australia at 5. He achieved “good” VCE results and became a “talented” basketballer, Judge Quin said.
He’d been selected to vie for a scholarship with a US prep school. But to his disappointment, he was refused a visa into the States.
In the months leading up to the crash, Yual started drinking heavily and regularly partying with friends.
Judge Quin noted Yual had no previous criminal history, and significant support from family and school friends. He was regarded as a hard-working, considerate young man, she said.
Showing remorse, Yual pleaded guilty early, was young and had positive rehab prospects. He was willing to speak to students about the impact of drink-driving on him and loved-ones.
Judge Quin said his offending was all “too common in the cohort of community members you belong to” – that is young men drinking alcohol, driving and disobeying road rules.
“This experience shows the damage done on the road when you completely disregard the duty you owe to other road users.”
Young offenders weren’t to be jailed in adult prison unless there were no other options, she said.
Yual was sentenced to four years in a youth justice centre – which included 313 days in pre-sentence remand in an adult prison.
He was disqualified from driving for two years.