Motorcyclist who lost leg shares impact of crash
"THIS is going to hurt." That was what Kim Beynon remembers thinking just before the motorcycle she was riding collided with a vehicle driven by a high-range drink-driver, the District Court heard in Mackay was told on Thursday.
She saw the injuries to her right leg and felt "horrendous pain". Six days later she woke up in hospital.
The driver, former Gladstone woman Denise Rosemary Gilmore, now 64, had a blood alcohol reading of 0.185% at the time of the crash.
Her Hyundai Getz had crossed into the wrong lane of the Bruce Hwy at The Leap, just north of Mackay.
Ms Beynon, then 49, had left for work about 9.30pm on June 12 last year.
She was riding towards Mackay when she saw a "car coming at her", Crown prosecutor Brendan Manttan said.
"It happened so fast that I didn't have time to take evasive action," she had told police after the crash.
Her right leg and two fingers of from her right hand had to be amputated because of the crash.
A passing vehicle had stopped at the accident and the occupants spoke with Gilmore.
"I'm fine. There's nothing wrong with me. It wasn't my fault," she'd said to them, the court heard.
In an interview with police on June 23, Gilmore said, "she just skidded into me. I didn't skid into her".
When police told Gilmore that she'd been in the wrong lane, she said Ms Beynon must have been riding too close to the centre line.
"She's got a lot more room than me, hasn't she," Gilmore had told them.
Ms Beynon was present in court on Thursday for the sentence.
In her victim impact statement, Ms Beynon said she had lost count of the number of operations she'd received - she said it was 12, perhaps more.
Formerly an independent woman, Ms Beynon now had "uncertainty" about any prosthetics in the long term because of hip and pelvic damage from the crash.
Gilmore pleaded guilty to dangerous driving causing grievous bodily harm while adversely affected by an intoxicating substance and high-range drink-driving.
On the night of the crash Gilmore had been driving home to Calen; a schooner -sized cup half-full of wine was found in her car the night of the crash.
Defence barrister Bronwyn Hartigan, for Morton Lawyers, said Gilmore had a "long-standing problem with alcohol" that began in 1971.
"That year was particularly catastrophic for her," Ms Hartigan said.
She lost a baby, her mother died, and her father murdered her sister's husband and went to jail.
Instead of seeking counselling Gilmore turned to alcohol, which she had been using as a crutch ever since, Ms Hartigan said.
Her home was a granny flat at Calen. She felt isolated, suffered from loneliness and had turned to alcohol, the court was told.
"The depth of her problem is evident in the glass of wine present in the car," Ms Hartigan said.
Gilmore hadn't driven since the crash, her licence had been automatically suspended, and she relied on friends for lifts, the court heard.
"She's unsure if she'll even be able to drive again," Ms Hartigan said.
Gilmore had no traffic history, no prior offences of drink-driving and hadn't offended since the crash.
Ms Hartigan said although Gilmore made comments after the crash that weren't to her credit, she had taken responsibility for the incident and showed remorse through her early plea of guilty.
She hadn't stopped drinking, but she didn't drink to excess, the court was told.
Judge Paul Smith said the "significance in this case was the degree of injury", which he agreed would have permanent consequences for Ms Beynon and her family.
"She thought she was going to die," Judge Smith said.
He advised Gilmore to seek help for her drinking while in custody.
Gilmore was jailed for three and a half years, that , which will be suspended after serving 14 months. She was convicted and disqualified from driving for three years.