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Drink-driver found guilty of causing fatal crash

German backpacker Juliane Kohn was killed when a drink-driver crossed onto the wrong side of the road at Apple Tree Creek.
German backpacker Juliane Kohn was killed when a drink-driver crossed onto the wrong side of the road at Apple Tree Creek. Contributed

ENJOYING the trip of a lifetime, two German backpackers were on their way to Bundaberg as they travelled around Australia, excited, happy and taking in the new experiences of a foreign country.

But less than a month after embarking on their adventure, it came to a horrific and devastating end when a Childers man made the decision to get into his ute and drive home after drinking.

On a stretch of the Bruce Hwy at Apple Tree Creek, Karl Anthony Bartolo, 39, crossed onto the wrong side of the road and slammed into the two young female's van.

On Thursday a jury found Bartolo guilty of dangerous driving while adversely affected by alcohol, causing the fatal car crash on June 26, 2012 which killed 23-year-old Juliane Kohn.

Bartolo, who had his five year old son in the car at the time, was more then three times over the legal blood alcohol limit when his vehicle collided with the van being driven by Miss Kohn.

Miss Kohn's friend and passenger, Sandra Kloss travelled back to Australia this week to give evidence in the Bundaberg District Court and detailed her friend's final moments.

The court heard Miss Kohn lived for just minutes after the collision as Miss Kloss comforted her and told her everything would be alright, despite realising the crash had crushed Ms Kohn's legs.

In sentencing Bartolo Judge Michael Noud referred to Ms Kohn's parents victim impact statement in which they spoke about how un-natural it was a for a parent to bury a child.

"The parents will suffer for the rest of their lives," Judge Noud said.

He also spoke about a section of Miss Kloss's victim impact statement and how she felt so alone after the crash.

"It was the worst time in my life, being alone at the other end of the world," the statement read.

Judge Noud said Bartolo's actions had very serious repercussions and the sentence needed to serve as both a personal deterrent and a deterrent to others.

Bartolo was sentenced to seven years jail. He will be eligible to apply for parole after three and a half years.

Bundaberg Police Officer in Charge Senior Sargent Erwin Hoffmann gave evidence during the trial and said the incident had been a tragic outcome for so many people.

"Juliane Kohn and her family, Sandra Kloss and her family and the community as a whole," he said. "

This trial has touched so many lives and will remain for a long time.

"This incident highlights the severe consequences of driving under the influence of an intoxicating substance.

"Please don't drink and drive."

Topics:  backpacker crash editors picks



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