IT was a moment of inattention with fatal consequences.
It led to the agonising death of a respected community man and torment for his family members who watched him deteriorate in hospital in the weeks after the car crash in Girrawheen last year.
And it meant the driver responsible for the collision, Darch mother Yanfang Yu (34), was left distraught with a man’s death on her conscience.
Magistrate Gregory Benn today described the car crash death of Wasyl Czwerenczuk as “an absolute tragedy” when he sentenced Yu in Joondalup Magistrates Court after she pleaded guilty to careless driving causing death.
She was attempting to turn right from Marangaroo Drive onto Girrawheen Avenue about 11am on September 2 when she crossed into the path of the vehicle driven by Mr Czwerenczuk and caused a fatal collision.
The court heard Mr Czwerenczuk did not die until September 27 after going through weeks of pain in hospital.
Despite the prosecution strongly pushing for her imprisonment, Yu received a $5000 fine, a 12-month driving ban and a criminal record.
The maximum penalty for careless driving causing death is three years in jail and a $36,000 fine.
His daughter Maria, son-in-law David and two grandchildren Natasha and Jason, all with the surname Abbott, were in court for Yu’s sentencing today.
The crash happened on Yu’s birthday, but also a day before Fathers’ Day and two days before Jason’s birthday.
Jason spoke on behalf of the family outside court, with his mother and father too upset to speak after hearing the penalty.
“Someone was reckless, my grandad, a great grandad and a dad has died,” he said.
“We respect the judge’s decision and are grateful for the chance he provided us to give grandad a voice through the victim impact statement.
“We are all still deeply saddened and miss our grandad, great grandad and dad very much.
“There can be no winners in a situation like this.
“Fathers Day and my birthday will forever be remembered for being in hospital stroking grandad’s head.
“I hope no one else has to go through the same.”
He said there was “no real closure for the suffering grandad went through”.
In court, Mr Benn conceded that sentencing the matter “was a very difficult exercise indeed” and told the family he understood if they were unhappy with his decision.
But he said the offence was at the “lower end of culpability”.
Mr Benn appeared emotional in addressing the family, saying the situation was “nothing short of heartbreaking”.
“It’s not a sentence that in any way possible can compensate for Mr Czwerenczuk’s death,” he said.
“You’ve lost him in the worst possible circumstances.”
The police prosecutor told the court Mr Czwerenczuk was “strong enough to live for many years” before he was involved in the crash.
He described the horrific injuries he suffered including bowel and stomach injuries and bleeding on the brain.
He said punctured lungs and broken ribs eventually led to Mr Czwerenczuk’s death 25 days later.
“He was in agony for all those 25 days… that pain stayed with him until his death,” he said.
“All of this suffering was brought about by Ms Yu’s careless manoeuvre.”
Defence lawyer Jun Khew Wong said his client, who was distraught throughout the hearing, wanted to “unreservedly apologise to the family”.
Yu, who has a four-year-old daughter, did not speak during the hearing.
Mr Czwerenczuk’s granddaughter Natasha said the family had not spoken with Yu.
“She will live with this for the rest of her life, just like we will too, as much as she might want to say sorry, we might want to say other things that aren’t very pleasant,” she said.
Mr Benn said Yu’s crime was a “classic instance of failure to keep due care and attention”.
He accepted Yu “simply did not see” the victim’s vehicle and that she had “other things on her mind that day, as we all do”.
But this led to the “most serious and tragic result possible”.
“I see your level of remorse at the bar table and I see your tears,” he said.
He refused Mr Wong’s submission for a spent conviction because “an employer has the right to know of this offence” given Yu’s job as accountant has her using a car.
Mr Czwerenczuk was a loved member of the local community and a former head of security with the Reserve Bank of Australia having worked his way up as a security officer.
Jason said his grandfather was active with the Ukrainian church, sang in the choir and visited his wife’s grave every Saturday.
“Everyone’s lost a great man out of this,” he said.