HE was 65kmh over the speed limit when he slammed into the car in front of him. Minutes later a French tourist was dead.
Andrew Fulloon was sentenced by the Gladstone District Court to six years in jail on Thursday.
His parents, grandparents and family friends shed tears together as Fulloon's final moments of freedom slipped by in court.
In what was described as a scene of chaos and carnage at Granite Creek, 27km south of Miriam Vale, on November 23, 2012, Fulloon's decision to speed cost Audrey Le Guen her life.
Fulloon's grandparents, who did not want to be named, said outside the courthouse that their grandson was a kind man who had made a fatal error.
"Deep down, he is a lovely boy," they said. "He is a young man who has learnt a lesson that he will never be able to leave behind him."
Fulloon was sentenced to six years in jail for the dangerous operation of a vehicle causing death and two counts of grievous bodily harm.
Upon searching the vehicle, police located a clip-seal bag containing 0.358 grams of methylamphetamine.
The 30-year-old man also faced one charge of possessing dangerous drugs.
Fulloon was subject to a blood test in the hours after the collision, which detected methamphetamine and tetrahydrocannabinol in his system.
The court heard, however, that substances in such low quantities were not regarded to have an impact upon the cause of the accident.
He will be eligible for parole on November 15, 2015.
The defendant will also be unable to hold or obtain a licence for two years.
Letters written on behalf of Fulloon to the surviving victims were submitted as exhibits during the sentencing process.
Additionally, the defence submitted a psychological assessment of Fulloon, stating he had a changed attitude to driving and the value of life in the wake of the horrific accident.
If I could swap my life for hers, I would. Her life was taken away because of me and I can never make that right.
Fulloon had also conveyed he was fully aware of the gravity of his actions.
"If I could swap my life for hers, I would," the court heard from a written submission.
"Her life was taken away because of me and I can never make that right."
Judge Michael Noud commented that he believed Fulloon was genuinely remorseful for his actions.
"I wish to express my own sadness of the harm this dangerous operation of a vehicle has caused," he said.
"No doubt you share the same sentiment. You have to live with the pain of that."
The trip of a lifetime that turned to tragedy
THREE French backpackers embarked on the holiday of a lifetime to Australia.
But one of them would never return home.
French backpacker Audrey Le Guen took her last breath on the side of the Bruce Hwy on November 23, 2012, after a Toyota Hilux ute travelling at more than double the speed limit ploughed into the van she was in.
She was thrown 30m from her vehicle and died at the scene. Her friends Fanny Brassard and Bryce Lohier were seriously injured in the crash.
Vehicles at Granite Creek had stopped at roadworks at 2.30pm. Cars travelling north were banked up.
The moment was an eerie precursor to the carnage that would unfold moments later.
On impact, the Mitsubishi van was thrown violently into the air. All three occupants were tossed from the vehicle.
The camper attachment on top of the van also rocketed into the air.
A Ford Escape in front of the van also took the brunt of the impact, with two adults and two children narrowly escaping injury.
It caused mass chaos for people in transit along the Bruce Hwy.
Gladstone District Court heard about the "horror scene" during the sentencing of Andrew Fulloon on Thursday.
Eighteen months on, forensic crash investigator Sergeant John Edwards cannot forget the horrific scene he was called to.
The words he used to describe the stretch of the Bruce Hwy that afternoon were simply "chaotic" and "confronting".
Sgt Edwards said the spread of debris along the highway was something he had never seen.
"It was quite confronting," he said. "It caused mass chaos for people in transit along the Bruce Hwy.
"It was closed until about midnight that night. It took 10 hours for the debris to be cleared.
"I feel for the families of the deceased person. They were just young travellers enjoying a holiday."
Photographs of widespread debris, a diagram of the crash and accounts from forensic crash investigations were given as evidence in the court.
Fulloon was trapped in his vehicle for 45 minutes.
He suffered serious injuries in the collision, and was airlifted to Bundaberg Base Hospital .
He remained in an induced coma for one and a half days and struggles to recall the incident.
Mystery still surrounds the reason why Fulloon was travelling at such a dangerous speed on a clear and sunny afternoon.