Mum of three 'could have killed' teen in shocking crash
HORRIFIC dashcam footage from a head-on crash has been played in court.
Honey J Danniels, 34, was visibly distressed when she faced Lismore District Court for a sentencing hearing on Friday.
The mother-of-three, from Sydney, had been ordered to attend court in person after she earlier pleaded guilty to driving while under the influence of ice and dangerous driving which caused grievous bodily harm to the driver of another vehicle.
She was charged with those offences after an October, 2018 crash on Myocum Rd in Ewingsdale which left a Mullumbimby woman, 19, with a fractured spine.
Dashcam footage from Danniels' car showed her travelling along a busy Ewingsdale Rd and turning onto Myocum Rd shortly before her car veered into the path of an oncoming car.
The court heard Danniels travelled to Byron Bay in a bid to "escape from all of her problems" and that she "was going on a bender to get destroyed".
Danniels gave evidence about deeply troubling personal circumstances but also reflected on the impact of her "inexcusable" offending.
"The accident itself … was so shocking," she said.
"I was quite out of it."
She told the court she couldn't comprehend, at the time, how her car came to be on the wrong side of the road.
"I remember looking back at (the teen) and she lay down on the ground with her face down and she said that she couldn't feel her legs," Danniels said.
"I ran, when I heard her say that. Just away from where she was.
"I could have killed her.
"My carelessness on that day changed her life forever."
Danniels said she hadn't been forced to acknowledge her issues with drug and alcohol addiction until after the crash.
But in 2019, she was caught mid range drink-driving and she had earlier drug-related convictions, the court heard.
Judge Jeffrey McLennan said he planned to impose a sentence of two years, but will give further consideration as to how she will serve this time.
She could face time behind bars, or could receive an intensive corrections order, and Judge McLennan has ordered a secondary sentencing assessment report to consider Danniels' suitability for home detention.
He explained to defence lawyer Joseph Nasheed a high level of moral culpability was made out.
"Given what your client set out to do, given the amount of drugs that she had enabled to effect her purpose, given the length of the journey, given the area in which she was driving, given the traffic, and given the fact she was so effected she drifted into an oncoming car, I don't have any doubt about the high level of your clients moral culpability," Judge McLennan said.
He acknowledged Danniels' insight into her offending and steps taken to get help for her addictions.
The matter will return to court on January 22, 2021.