News

Jail for driver high on pot who caused fatal crash

HIGH on marijuana, and with a cocktail of prescription medication in his system, Hew Reed Lewis, 31, got behind the wheel.

It was about 7.40pm on June 6, 2014, when Lewis turned on to Rosedale Rd from a side road and drove a short distance before failing to negotiate a corner.

He crossed on to the wrong side of the road and into the path of an oncoming motorcycle.

The head-on crash instantly killed 51-year-old Christopher David Semb (pictured), while Lewis suffered head injuries which left him in a Brisbane hospital intensive care unit for five days.

In Bundaberg District Court on Friday, Lewis pleaded guilty to one count of dangerous driving causing death while adversely affected.

Gladstone man Chris Semb was killed on Rosedale Rd by a 31-year-old driving high on prescription drugs and marijuana.
Gladstone man Chris Semb was killed on Rosedale Rd by a 31-year-old driving high on prescription drugs and marijuana. Carolyn Archer

 

Crown prosecutor David Finch said Lewis made the choice to voluntarily consume the marijuana before getting behind the wheel.

"It has had the direct consequence where another road user has lost their life," he said.

That life was Mr Semb's, a husband, father, son, and grandfather. His family was in court to hear the sentence yesterday. Some sat in the back of the court room while others watched via videolink from New Zealand.

Defence barrister James Godbolt said was it evident from the medical evidence that Lewis's ability to drive a car was impaired due to the level of marijuana in his blood, but that the level of impairment was impossible to say.

He said while his client suffered "traumatic flashbacks", he had very little memory of the crash and was "deeply and genuinely sorry for what occurred".

Mr Godbolt said Lewis had struggled with substance addiction for some years after being exposed to marijuana as a child.

Lewis was visibly upset as Judge Fleur Kingham delivered the sentence.

She said the seriousness of the offence was categorised by three things - the dreadful consequence, the deliberate decision by Lewis to drive and the fact that he was impaired.

"You will have to live for the rest of your life with the consequences of your actions," Judge Kingham told Lewis.

She sentenced him to five years jail with a parole eligibility date set at May 12 next year.

Topics:  drug driving, fatality, hew reed lewis, marijuana, prison




Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

Three times the people dying on Bundy's roads

Bundaberg's crash hot spots.

Compared to Brisbane, our stats are gloomy

Don't get your feathers in a ruffle, it's only for a week

Fast food restaurant to close doors for a week

Latest deals and offers

Landcare - Bundaberg significant trees

ENVIRONMENTAL AWARENESS: President of Bundaberg and District Urban Landcare's Mike Johnson is concerned about the pollution of Saltwater Creek. Photo: Mike Knott / NewsMail

MIKE Johnson said other councils such as Sydney have rules in place to prevent...

Poinciana in Targo St

UNDER THE CANOPY: Mario and Anna Maria D'Addario with the large Poinciana tree in their front garden. Photo: Mike Knott / NewsMail

Mario and Anna Maria D’Addario have been guardians of a poinciana tree which is...

Tylah Hill - 7 Things guys should stop doing to girls

Tylah Hill's video of 7 things guys should stop doing to girls.

Own Sunshine Coast property? You’re about to make money

UP AND UP: Property owners are likely to win from rent and price increases but tenants and first home buyers might not be so happy. Photo: Brett Wortman / Sunshine Coast Daily

Good new for property owners, not so good for buyers and tenants.

Sale nears on last large block of land in Coolum

The 43.37ha property on South Coolum Rd has sold.

South Coolum Rd property to be land banked