Newspaper article The Queensland Times (Ipswich, Australia)

Dad Jailed for Family Tragedy; Mum of Three Boys Dies in Crash

Newspaper article The Queensland Times (Ipswich, Australia)

Dad Jailed for Family Tragedy; Mum of Three Boys Dies in Crash

Article excerpt

Byline: Ross Irby ross.irby@qt.com.au

A DAD of two whose girlfriend was killed when their car ploughed head-on into an oncoming car has been jailed.

In a Crown prosecution case before the Ipswich District Court, Joseph James Westlake, 38, was convicted after he pleaded guilty to dangerous operation of a motor vehicle, causing the death of Kristie Maree Symonds, 25, at Forest Hill on July 20, 2016.

The crash happened at noon on the Old Laidley Forest Hill Rd, with Westlake's Commodore colliding with a Subaru Forester, seriously injuring its four passengers.

Ms Symonds, a mother of Westlake's two sons and an older boy, had been travelling in the front passenger seat.

There was no evidence before Judge Douglas McGill SC to suggest speed was a factor, with Crown prosecutor Noel Needham saying the dangerous operation was in relation to Westlake failing to see the indicator lights of a car ahead of him to show it was turning off the rural road.

Westlake made the decision to overtake the turning car across double lines, causing the collision with the Subaru.

The driver of the turning car said he saw the Commodore coming up behind him quickly in his rear vision mirror.

Mr Needham outlined Westlake's traffic history, which included 14 speeding offences, one DUI, two offences of failing to stop for a red light or at an intersection, and using a hand-held device.

Westlake's licence had been either cancelled or suspended on three previous occasions.

Lee-Anne Symonds, the mother of Kristie, was in the courtroom, and wrote a victim impact statement read by Mr Needham.

Lee-Anne said on the day of her daughter's death she had been happy until receiving a phone call from police that there had been an accident.

Police told her to go to Kristie's home as all three boys were there. …

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