Fatigued father jailed for Heathridge crash that killed Perth motorcyclist Cameron Budovich
A fatigued driver who it is believed closed his eyes for just seconds has been jailed for causing a crash that killed a 23-year-old Perth motorcyclist and seriously injured two other motorists.
Andrew Robert Hutton, 40, was driving his two young sons home on the afternoon of January 3 last year when he slammed into Cameron Budovich’s stationary motorbike in the northern Perth suburb of Heathridge.
Mr Budovich was waiting with other motorists for the lights at an intersection on Hodges Drive to change from red to green.
Hutton then crashed into the car in front of Mr Budovich’s motorbike, seriously injuring its female driver, while her car was pushed into a third vehicle whose driver suffered broken ribs and bruising.
The District Court was told the speed limit was 70 kilometres per hour in the area, but it was estimated Hutton was travelling about 88kph in the seconds before the crash and about 74kph at the time of impact.
Crime can be ‘committed by anyone’
Hutton’s lawyer Simon Freitag, SC, said while the exact cause of the tragedy may never be known, Hutton accepted he had closed his eyes for about four or five seconds and only opened them in the “split second” before the crash.
Mr Frietag said his client had been employed as a “professional driver” for two decades and was “well educated” about fatigue, and on the day he had judged himself to be fine to drive.
He described Hutton as a “well regarded, hardworking man who cared for his family deeply” and who on the day of the crash had made a mistake.
“One of the characteristics of this type of offending, is that it can be committed by anyone,” Mr Frietag said.
“While not all of us are likely to be involved in an armed robbery, all of us as adults are largely drivers and are exposed to the risks of driving as potential victims or as potential offenders.
“This is the sort of offence anyone can commit, who are very decent members of the community.”
Victim’s family heartbroken
Judge Michael Bowden accepted that Hutton was genuinely remorseful but said Mr Budovich’s death had devastated his family, including his father who, in a victim impact statement, described his heart as being “torn into pieces.”
Judge Bowden said Hutton had made an error of judgment in deciding he was fine to drive, and said he was satisfied fatigue was a contributing factor to Hutton closing his eyes.
“You erred in that regard, closing your eyes for a period of time when your car was travelling around 88kph,” he said.
“When you opened your eyes it was too late. The reality is there was nothing that could be done.”
Hutton’s lawyer had submitted his client could receive a suspended jail term, but Judge Bowden said the seriousness of the offence called for an immediate term of imprisonment to be imposed.
Hutton was sentenced to 12 months jail, and he will have to serve six months before he can be released on parole.