WA man jailed for overtaking death

Police are probing the death of a Nollamara woman.
Police are probing the death of a Nollamara woman.

A YOUNG man who killed a woman in a head-on crash after he crossed double white lines while attempting to overtake on a West Australian country highway will spend at least a year behind bars.

Austen James Bentley Jones was driving to Perth on Brookton Highway on a night in June 2017 when he became impatient that the car in front of him was being driven below the 110 km/h speed limit.

The District Court of WA heard that was because the road was wet from rain.

Jones, then an 18-year-old farm worker, didn’t wait for the next opportunity to use an overtaking lane and instead pulled out as the cars approached a rise in the road.

On the other side was Trina Louise Ireland.

“She was confronted with a dreadful and horrifying scenario; a vehicle coming towards her in her lane, another in the adjacent lane,” Judge John Staude said on Friday.

“At that point your vehicle and hers were so close that neither of you could take evasive action to avoid a head-on collision.”

Ms Ireland died instantly, Jones needed surgery for a perforated bowel and his passenger suffered spinal injuries.

Jones took his case to trial earlier this week, arguing he had a full view of the road ahead when he attempted to overtake and that crossing double white lines was no more than a traffic infringement.

“You essentially denied responsibility for the crash,” Judge Staude said.

“Your position was misconceived.

“That road marking signified that it was unsafe to overtake.

“You were required as a matter of law not to cross to the right of those lines unless turning.”

The court heard Jones was usually a careful and sensible driver, and the judge said it was unlikely he would offend again.

After serving 12 months in jail, he will be subject to a two-year suspended imprisonment order.

If Jones reoffends during that period, he will have to serve that part of the sentence in prison.