A driver has been jailed for causing an "easily avoidable" crash on the Hume Highway, which killed an Albury man and seriously injured his wife.
Luke Thomas Elphick was sentenced in Wagga District Court yesterday after pleading guilty to dangerous driving occasioning death and dangerous driving occasioning grievous bodily harm.
The charges followed a crash at the intersection of the Hume Highway and the Old Hume Highway at Tumblong on August 24, 2019.
Elphick, then aged 31, had been driving his Toyota Hilux ute along the Old Hume Highway when it collided with a four-wheel-drive towing a camper trailer.
The 4WD was being driven west along the Hume by 60-year-old Albury man Paul Sinclair.
Mr Sinclair's wife, Gail, was in the passenger seat.
The court heard a witness saw Elphick's ute cross the eastbound lanes of the Hume Highway and stop in the centre of the median strip at the intersection, which is controlled by give way signs.
The witness observed Elphick's ute either did not stop - or if it did stop it was for less than a second - before it proceeded across a turning lane and then into lane two of the westbound lanes.
Elphick's ute hit the driver's side of the Sinclairs' car, forcing it to roll on its roof.
Mr Sinclair died at the scene. Mrs Sinclair suffered a fractured left collar bone that required surgery.
In sentencing, Judge Gordon Lerve extended his condolences to the victim's family.
"The death of a citizen has been occasioned and grievous bodily harm suffered by the person's widow," he said.
"His widow is left to grieve.
"The tragedy could have been so easily avoided by the offender taking more care as he joined the Hume Freeway."
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A victim statement from Mrs Sinclair was read to the court last year.
"Clearly the late Mr Sinclair was a much loved husband and father who is and will be greatly missed," Judge Lerve said.
"No reasonable person could have listened to that victim impact statement and not be stirred emotionally.
"Clearly the death of Mr Sinclair will have a long and lasting impression on his widow and family."
The court heard Elphick, a trained Rural Fire Service volunteer from Gundagai, did whatever he could to assist the victims at the scene.
He attended Gundagai police station the morning after the crash, where he was arrested and charged.
During a recorded interview with police, Elphick said his view of oncoming traffic was not obstructed, and there was no issue with glare from the sun.
During his evidence at a hearing last year, Elphick said he was "terribly sorry" for what happened and wished he could turn back time.
He maintained during cross-examination that he did stop at the intersection.
Judge Lerve said he understood Elphick agreed with the suggestion that if he had looked properly he would have seen the car, but was adamant that he had not seen it.
The judge said it was clear Elphick was remorseful and that he was a person of "good character", as evidenced by multiple submissions from family and community members.
Judge Lerve said given the nature of the offending and the failure to take adequate precautions to ensure there was no oncoming traffic, no sentence other than imprisonment was appropriate.
"The offender failed in the clear duty he had to ensure that it was safe to join or cross the freeway," he said.
Elphick was sentenced to a combined sentence of three years in prison, with a non-parole period of two years. He is eligible to be released in January 2023.