Carl Allan Bridge sentenced to nine years' jail over Corrigin double fatality truck crash

© Provided by ABC NEWS Jason Bropho and Amy’s mother Shirley Bropho-Dawson say they are ‘heartbroken’ over their loss. (ABC News: Akash Fotedar)

A drug-affected truck driver who ploughed into a stationary car, killing a woman and her young son and seriously injuring her three other children near a small town in Western Australia’s Wheatbelt, has been sentenced to more than nine years’ jail.

WARNING: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander readers are advised that this article contains images and names of people who have died.

A jury has found Carl Allan Bridge, 48, guilty of dangerous driving and causing the deaths of Amy Bropho, 26, and her 10-year-old son Leroy Dawson, near Corrigin, on August 19, 2018.

Ms Bropho’s three other children, aged eight, five and three, all suffered life-threatening injuries, including broken bones and damage to their spines and spent months in hospital.

On the night the family was inside the car, which had a trailer attached and was parked off to the side of road, because they had run out of petrol. Ms Bropho’s partner, the father of the children, had decided to walk into Corrigin to get fuel.

Bridge was driving a 38-tonne prime mover towing two empty grain tailers when he slammed into the parked car.

The District Court in Perth was told one of the officers who attended the crash scene described it as being “like a bomb site.”

Bridge likely ingested drugs while driving truck

Bridge’s headlights were only on low beam when he hit the car, meaning his ability to see it had been significantly reduced.

He later told police he had turned off his high beam when he went around a bend and did not know why he had not put them back on again.

A blood sample taken from Bridge about five hours later found methylamphetamine and cannabis in his system.

The level of methylamphetamine was consistent with him having used it 12 to 18 hours earlier, while the level of cannabis was so high it was likely he had ingested it earlier on the night of the crash or while he was driving.

Judge Linda Petrusa noted that other motorists, who did have their high-beam lights on, had seen the family’s car, saying the drugs in Bridge’s system had made him incapable of properly controlling his vehicle.

“That incapacity manifested itself in the failure to engage the high-beam lights … you blinded yourself,” Judge Petrusa told him.

The court was told Bridge had used cannabis daily since he was about 18 years old, even though he had spent many years working as a truck driver.

Family ‘heartbroken’

Judge Petrusa described the victim impact statements provided by Ms Bropho’s partner and mother as “heartbreaking to read”.

“This collision was a tragedy. It has devastated and torn apart a family,” she told Bridge.

“This was a tragedy that is squarely your fault … others saw the car, you did not, because you were not fit to be driving.” 

Bridge was sentenced to nine years and one month in jail and he was also disqualified from driving for thee years by the time he is released from jail.

He will have to serve seven years and one month before he can be considered for parole.

Members of the victims’ family were in court for the sentencing, including Ms Bropho’s mother Shirley, who said she was glad the court case was over.

She said she was disappointed with the sentence.

“We’ve waited just over three years for this and then we hear the verdict,” she said.

“I mean, justice has been done but it’s not enough.

“He can get out and he can move on, we’re still stuck and nothing in the world can change that.”

“I’m disappointed but what can we do? That’s the verdict.”

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