A KAPUNDA man who caused a serious head-on collision while coming down from a methamphetamine high has been told to use his jail sentence to prepare for “a lifetime” of looking after his daughter, who was paralysed in the crash.
Luke Stephen Falkiner, 34, was sentenced to 42 months in prison – with a two-year non-parole period – in the District Court on Thursday after pleading guilty to two aggravated counts of causing serious harm by dangerous driving and another of causing harm by dangerous driving.
The charges related to a head-on collision Falkiner caused while driving, unlicensed, on the Thiele Highway at Roseworthy, at around 9pm on June 10, 2017.
Falkiner – who the court heard was fatigued by sleep deprivation caused by the “rebound effects” of methamphetamine, which he admitted to taking the day before – veered onto the wrong side of the road and collided head-on with another vehicle.
His two children – daughter Hollie, four, and son Harley, two – both suffered serious injuries in the incident, and have since remained in the care of their maternal grandmother.
Hollie’s injuries were the most severe, with a spinal dislocation and complete tetraplegia resulting in an inability to move her body below the fracture, save for the limited use of one arm.
The 48-year-old driver of the other vehicle – a widowed woman with two children, one of whom has special needs – was given an extremely poor” prognosis after suffering multiple fractures, and has lost a considerable amount of income and the ability to care for her son as a result.
In sentencing Falkiner, Judge Barry Beazley said the circumstances of the offending were “extremely sad” and the consequences for the victims were “tragic”, noting that Falkiner was a single parent, too, having lost his wife, Diana, to a heart attack in November 2016.
Judge Beazley acknowledged there was “absolutely no doubt” about Falkiner’s remorse and contrition, saying it was “obvious to all who have observed you”.
However, he said the court must take into account the “moral culpability” of Falkiner’s decision to drive that day.
“You need to prepare yourself for release,” Judge Beazley told Falkiner.
“You face a lifetime of looking after them (his children), and Hollie in particular.
“You owe it to your children to ensure that you do look after them, do you understand all of that?”