23 June 2021

Friend lying in Commodore tray thrown out after drunk driver crashes ute

| Albert McKnight
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ACT courts

Steven Judge will spend months in jail over the December 2019 crash in Canberra. Photo: Albert McKnight.

Drunk and on drugs, Steven Judge crashed a black Holden Commodore ute into a power pole.

As he did so, his friend, who had been lying down in the ute’s tray, was thrown into the air and landed in a water reservoir. He survived but was left with horrific injuries.

A recent ACT Supreme Court judgement shows the now 28-year-old Judge has been jailed after admitting he was responsible for the crash on 7 December 2019.

That day, Judge got behind the wheel to drive from Braddon to Gungahlin with a friend in the front passenger seat and another friend, who owned the car, lying in the tray.

Tests taken later found he had the drug MDMA in his system and was almost four times over the legal driving limit, returning a blood alcohol level of .186.

As Judge drove down Flemington Road towards Mitchell, he mounted a centre median strip, lost control and crashed into a gutter and a power pole.

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Lying in the back, his friend was thrown from the ute tray and landed in a nearby water reservoir, receiving numerous life-threatening injuries, including complex traumatic cervical spinal fractures and a spinal cord injury.

He spent the next 139 days in hospitals in Canberra and Sydney, requiring specialist spinal treatment.

“He will suffer permanent and long-lasting consequences of his injuries including neurological impairment, spasticity and spasms as a result of his spinal cord injury, scarring from surgeries, ongoing pain and psychological consequences,” Justice David Mossop said.

Judge was trapped in the car and had a fractured femur and pelvis. He spent about seven weeks in hospital and it took about five months before he was able to walk properly again.

His friend in the passenger seat was able to pull himself out of the car.

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Justice Mossop said the construction worker was “substantially intoxicated by alcohol” but had claimed he had not used illegal drugs since the crash and recognised he had made a poor decision.

Justice Mossop said Judge had told the court he had not intended to drive on the day of the event and alternative transport had been available.

“It was a consequence of muddled thinking by an intoxicated person. It is very clear that he regrets his decision for a variety of reasons,” Justice Mossop said.

Judge had pleaded guilty to culpable driving causing grievous bodily harm and drug driving.

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Justice Mossop sentenced him to 21 months’ jail from 2 June 2021, to be suspended after five months so he can complete a 16-month good behaviour order.

He was also fined $500 and disqualified from driving for 12 months.

Original Article published by Albert McKnight on The RiotACT.

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