"Sleepless chef jailed for six years over road death"


Joel Leigh Johnstone had not slept for more than 24 hours but said that he "didn't feel out of it" when he left Crown Casino one summer's day in 2001.
An hour later, the 21 year-old apprentice chef fell asleep behind the wheel of his utility and knocked over a concrete light pole, killing one man and seriously injuring two others.

Johnstone, now 24, of Beaumaris, was jailed yesterday for six years and nine months, with a minimum of four years. He was disqualified from driving for four years.
"You ended a life and .altered forever the lives of a number of persons, including your own," Judge Tom Wodak said at the County Court.
On February 12, 2001, Johnstone was driving on the Nepean Highway with Patrick Merkus. He had smoked marijuana, and amphetamines were found in his blood.
At 1.15pm, Johnstone's car hit a light pole, became airborne and hit a station wagon travelling in the opposite way. The pole fell across the two cars as well as a third behind the station wagon. Jan Wilmink, a stationwagon passenger, died. His driver, Ashley Trebilcock, suffered life threatening injuries and Mr Merkus had a fractured vertebra and fractured ankle.
Johnstone pleaded guilty to culpable driving causing death, and two counts of negligently causing serious injury.

© 2004 The Age Company Limited.