A DISTRICT Court judge said yesterday he was mindful of the number of people put at risk by an intoxicated Wodonga driver in an accident at Howlong when imposing a 20-month jail term.
Judge David Frearson told William Jeremy Fenn the dangers of drink-driving were well known to everyone in the community.
Fenn, 25, will spend another 18 months on parole after his release on January 14, 2014, and also received a three-year driving ban.
He appeared in Albury’s District Court for sentencing on a charge of dangerous driving causing grievous bodily harm after submissions to Judge Frearson last week.
Judge Frearson said Fenn attended a Howlong hotel about 9.50pm on January 25 last year, bought a slab of beer and put it in the boot with a passenger.
He had four other unrestrained passengers in his high-powered Ford when he did a burnout, narrowly missed a parked car and drove at excessive speed.
The passengers urged him to slow down but he was doing at least 80km/ h in a 50km/h zone when he went through a give-way sign, clipped a gutter and lost control.
Fenn’s vehicle hit a tree and brick letterbox and came to rest on the passenger side.
He escaped from the vehicle, ran from the scene and went to a house in Kennedy Street about 700m away where he was arrested by police.
His passengers were injured to varying degrees, with the most serious being the man, 17, who was in the boot.
He suffered a fractured skull, multiple facial fractures, lung, spine and rib injuries and was in a coma for a week.
“I do take into account that the intended journey was a short one,” Judge Frearson said.
But there was a degree of showing-off by Fenn, a significant level of intoxication with a blood alcohol reading of 0.175 and his fleeing the showed an abandonment of responsibility along with moral culpability.
Fenn told Judge Frearson last week that he self-medicated with alcohol for severe depression after separating in 2009 from his girlfriend, the mother of his son.
Fenn saw little of his son and drank excessively to numb the pain but was warned by a psychiatrist about the dangers of alcohol with his condition.
“Nevertheless, he embarked on a drinking binge ...” Judge Frearson said.
He said he had to impose a penalty for the specific deterrence of Fenn and to deter others from similar actions.