A driver who hit and killed a motorcyclist while hurrying to a speedway race in country Victoria will spend at least two-and-a-half years behind bars.
Kazmar Gorski was overtaking along a stretch of roadworks at Warncoort on the way to Colac when the trailer he was towing – carrying two race cars – struck 54-year-old Damian Ryan.
The impact sent the motorcyclist flying.
Mr Ryan had his leg amputated at the scene and died in hospital from acute blood loss and cardiogenic shock.
Gorski, 69, on Wednesday faced Judge Duncan Allen at the Victorian County Court, where he was sentenced to five-and-a-half years in prison, with a non-parole period of two-and-a-half years.
The small business owner had earlier pleaded guilty to culpable driving causing Mr Ryan’s death and reckless conduct endangering the life of another motorist involved in the crash.
Judge Allen said the impact that Gorski’s driving had upon Mr Ryan’s family was “truly devastating”.
“There is no doubt that culpable driving is one of the most serious offences in the criminal calendar.
“Your driving amounted to an episode of gross irresponsibility, with a shocking disregard for the lives and safety of other innocent road users.”
Gorski, then 67, was tailgating other motorists through roadworks on the Princes Highway before the crash on February 3, 2018.
He overtook two cars in his Ford utility on the way from Melbourne to Colac and was pulling back into his lane when the trailer hit Mr Ryan.
Afterwards, he told family in tears: “I killed a man.”
Judge Allen said the early guilty plea, combined with Gorski’s ongoing physical and mental health concerns and age were “powerful mitigating factors” that contributed to a reduced sentence.
“You have experienced profound regret, contrition and shame since the events on that tragic day,” he said.
“I’m not in any way comparing the depth of your remorse to the horrific pain and grief experienced by the Ryan family … but I’m obliged to acknowledge (it).”
The effect of Gorski’s absence from the tipper truck manufacturing business he took over some four decades ago also contributed to a reduced sentence, the judge said.
The court heard he was a “pivotal figure” at the now debt-ridden Gorski Engineering business which would “certainly suffer” without him.
“Mr Gorski has already and will continue to suffer extra-curial punishment by way of his absence to the business,” Judge Allen said.