P-plater appeals jail term imposed for role in high-speed crash which split his car in two

A FORMER Warrnambool man who survived a high-speed drink-driving crash which split his car in half has been imprisoned for two months. 

Joshua Kane, 23, now of Rural Drive, Kalgoorlie in Western Australia, appeared in Warrnambool Magistrates’ Court yesterday, pleading guilty to reckless conduct endangering life, driving while suspended and driving under the influence of alcohol on a probationary licence.  He has appealed the sentence.

The court heard that after a social function on May 19 this year Kane was driving east with a friend on Coghlans Road, between Caramut and Morris roads, about 10pm when he lost control and hit a power pole, splitting the car in two. 

The rear section of the vehicle was found 30 metres away from the point of impact, but Kane and his friend both escaped with minor injuries. 

Kane gave a blood- alcohol reading of .099, despite being a P-plate driver with a suspended licence at the time.

The court was told he could not remember the crash or any event between getting into the car and arriving at hospital.

Defence counsel Matt Senia said his client’s miraculous survival and its consequences had been a “horrific wake-up call” that prompted a dramatic change in lifestyle. 

“He knows how close he came to death,” Mr Senia said. “His whole outlook on life has changed.”

Magistrate Jonathan Klestadt said while Kane was an excellent prospect for rehabilitation, his newfound reverence for road safety was too late and only luck had saved him from severe injury or death. 

“A week doesn’t go by without the public being dismayed at the sight of vehicles which have been effectively destroyed after colliding with another car, trees, poles or bridges,” he said. 

“We as a community lament the senseless loss of life that occurs when these events happen.

“As a coroner I have presided over inquests where just such behaviour as this has resulted in the death of young people from this region.

“You have lived in this community and you have known people whose lives have been changed by just such conduct ... but nothing changed.

“A button has to be pushed for the community to realise young people are not immune from the laws of physics and they are not immune from the laws of chance.”

He said the three charges demanded an aggregate term of imprisonment, handing down a nine-month jail sentence, with two months to be served. The remaining seven months of the term will be suspended for two years.

Kane has appealed the penalty and was granted bail until March.