Young driver Nathan Palmer, flanked by his late friends, Andrew Spence (left) and Jake Bailey.
Young driver Nathan Palmer, flanked by his late friends, Andrew Spence (left) and Jake Bailey.

Young driver who killed mates in fatal crash avoids jail

A YOUNG driver who pleaded guilty to dangerous driving killing his two good friends has avoided jail time.

Nathan Palmer, 20, was today sentenced to two years jail, wholly suspended for three years, and disqualified from driving for two years.

Crown prosecutor Greg Cummings told Maroochydore District Court there was no speed, no alcohol, no drugs and no mechanical problems involved in the car crash on Corooy-Noosa Road about 3.45pm on February 17 last year.

He said the dangerous driving related to Palmer accelerating too much, in a high-powered vehicle he had never driven before, on a wet and inclined road.

"When he regained traction he went onto the wrong side of the road," he said.

Mr Cummings said the loss of control resulted in him colliding with a car towing a boat and the deaths of Palmer's passengers Jake Bailey and Andrew Spence.

"All of a sudden the Falcon was right in front of his car," he said.

Judge Milton Griffin said the parents of the deceased passengers had told the court they did not want Palmer to go to jail.

He said Palmer was undertaking "a perfectly legal maneuvre" by attempting to pass another vehicle in an overtaking lane.

But Judge Griffin said Palmer should have been taking more care driving a vehicle he was unfamiliar with.

"On a wet, inclined road, at between 95 and 100kmh, by applying too much acceleration, that led to an irretrievable loss of control," he said.

"You did not deliberately intend to do anything dangerous.

"This is at the lower end of the scale of blameworthiness."



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