IT WAS a chaotic scene of death, broken bodies and wreckage littering an isolated section of Victoria’s Great Alpine Road at night in the middle of winter.
A car had rolled and disgorged most of its seven occupants about 14 kilometres from Omeo.
Judge John Smallwood presided over a recent trial of the man found responsible for the horrors from that terrible crash, and yesterday sent a blunt message to those who drive on our roads. ”As a judge when you see matters such as this,” he said, ”when you’ve got witnesses describing the scene on that cold night in Omeo, with basically broken bodies all over the road and people staggering around in a confused state and a dead man – that’s the sort of thing every member in the community who drives a motor vehicle should have to sit through.
”I’ve got no doubt it would lead them to drive more safely if they did.”
Judge Smallwood jailed the man found guilty of causing the death of Amandeep Singh, 27, and seriously injuring his wife, Aman Grewal, and four other Indian nationals.
As a manager of a company servicing ski resorts at Mount Hotham, Bakhus Semaan, 29, was driving the five cleaners to Omeo.
Witnesses described him speeding, cutting corners and swerving onto the wrong side of the road ”as if he was driving a rally car” as terrified passengers – some crying, others praying – pleaded with him to slow down. ”Don’t worry,” he said. ”I know this road really well.”
A jury convicted Semaan of dangerous driving causing death and five counts of dangerous driving causing serious injury. Semaan was sentenced to five years and three months with a minimum of two years and eight months.
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