An unlicensed driver who ran a red light and hit a 12-year-old boy while under the influence of methamphetamine has been jailed for seven months.
The 39-year-old had been acquitted of an aggravated charge of causing serious harm by dangerous driving after two methamphetamine experts said the drug could have some positive effects on a driver’s alertness.
Lenarczyk instead was convicted by the Adelaide District Court of a lesser charge of aggravated driving without due care, over the road crash at Salisbury Heights in 2012.
Her car hit Nickolas Falco, 12, who suffered extensive injuries, including a fractured skull and a collapsed lung.
Judge Barry Beazley said he could not be certain about the effect of the methamphetamine use on Lenarczyk’s driving.
“In your case, the prosecution was not able to satisfy me beyond reasonable doubt as to the effects of methamphetamine on that day,” he said.
“There was no evidence that the driving leading up to the collision involved any overtly poor driving, veering across the road, high speed or otherwise.”
Driver had never been licensed
Lenarczyk had never had a driver’s license, but had been convicted for driving when unlicensed and fined several times.
Judge Beazley said Lenarczyk’s luck had now run out and there was insufficient reason to suspend the sentence because the woman had disregard for the driving laws and road safety.
“The fact that you drove with your children in the vehicle, without a license and having consumed methamphetamine was, as I’m sure you accept, outrageous,” he said.
The judge found Lenarczyk failed to properly watch the road and had hit the boy before she saw him.
Commissioner for Victims’ Rights Michael O’Connell said the law needed to change to stamp out drug-driving.
“We need to go back, review the law and look at the possibility of ensuring that we don’t have this type of circumstance, where it’s near impossible to prove a person is affected by methamphetamine when they drive,” he said.
“In my view we need to have a proper, sound, reasoned debate, about not only alcohol but also drugs in our community.
He said the law was clear on alcohol use when driving and needed to be the same in regard to drug use.
Mr O’Connell said the young victim’s family was hopeful the court case would lead to legal reform.
“They don’t want this particular case to simply pass by as being just another court case, they want to use it as a stepping stone for law reform,” he said.
The victim’s family declined to make any comment as they left the court.