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Sydney driver could face jail for ploughing into a group of seven cyclists

Thomas Kerr claims not to have seen the riders when he drove into the back of them, causing a range of injuries including spinal fractures

A Sydney driver who ploughed into seven cyclists causing a range of injuries, including spinal fractures, faces a possible jail sentence this week.

Thomas Kerr, 28, who claims not to have seen the riders when he ploughed into the back of them last March apologised in court and said he will be haunted forever by the collision. He was not drinking or speeding at the time and there was no suggestion he deliberately hit the group. He says he has no memory of the crash.

All seven riders were taken to the hospital, with injuries ranging from abrasions to spinal fractures, and one faces years of rehabilitation after losing function in her right hand.

Judge Knox likened the crash to a ten-pin bowling ball going through a set of skittles, reports 9 News, and he questioned how Kerr didn't see the riders.

"These are two columns of cyclists. They are brightly coloured," he said.

It has been suggested the collision was caused by momentary inattention, rather than a deliberate act.

Three of the victims were at the Sydney Downing Centre District Court when Kerr read out a statement on Thursday asking for forgiveness, reports the Sydney Morning Herald.

"This has had a profound effect on your lives and my heart goes out to each and every one of you," he said.

"I'm also searching for answers as to how exactly this happened."

His lawyer, Murugan Thangaraj, SC, said: "The only logical explanation for [the accident] must be momentary inattention or misjudgment."

Although Kerr's father, Barry, testified that his son "wasn't a hoon", that he had taught him to drive, his driving record did not help his case.

Between 2008-2010 Kerr was caught speeding twice, as well as driving while disqualified and driving using a mobile phone. He also had a drink driving conviction.

Kerr pleaded guilty to four counts of dangerous driving occasioning grievous bodily harm and three of causing bodily harm by misconduct.

He will be sentenced on Friday morning.

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21 comments

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Simmo72 | 8 years ago
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Anyone can have a lapse in concentration, its the consequence that vary from nothing to carnage.

That said, his past leads to me to think he's a crap driver who has little regard for others therefore I hope he is made an example of.

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vonhelmet replied to Simmo72 | 8 years ago
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Simmo72 wrote:

Anyone can have a lapse in concentration, its the consequence that vary from nothing to carnage.

That said, his past leads to me to think he's a crap driver who has little regard for others therefore I hope he is made an example of.

The problem is that a lapse of concentration when wielding over a tonne of metal can have serious consequences, as you've acknowledged. We shouldn't accept a lowering of driving standards to the point that we excuse these lapses. Want to drive? Fine, but do it properly. Can't be arsed to concentrate? Catch a bus.

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Aussie Rider | 8 years ago
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Got 18 months

http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/thomas-kerr-jailed-for-crashing-into-sydney-cy...
 41
Fair result - eligible for parole in February 2017

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antigee | 8 years ago
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Looks like was already serving a non-custodial sentence for affray at the time of the crash - add that to past record of driving while disqualified and you start to get a picture of someone who is an habitual lawbreaker and maybe doesn't perceive that this impacts others.

Pretty sure that if you read through an internet load of serious injury/fatality cyclist (and pedestrian) "accident" reports will often find that the drivers have histories of driving whilst disqualified - to cut to the point, authorities need to effectively tackle driving whilst disqualified (or unlicensed) and make drivers that have lost their licenses and had them returned subject to regular and strict renewal tests at their expense (or not return licenses at all and have plenty of random roadside checks for licenses which would probably be self funding).

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Bigfoz | 8 years ago
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"Why do people still try this on? Not seeing something is NOT a defence."

Actually, it seems to be a very valid and successful defence. The issue being that of course, it should not be, it should be an aggravating circumstance and increase penalties.

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racyrich | 8 years ago
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I've come to the conclusion the correct response is to section such people. If you can't explain your actions, or the explanation is so ludicrous it puts you away with the fairies, then mental illness should be inferred. In the loony bin until you can satisfactorily explain yourself. If and when that happens then we can criminally prosecute.

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Curto80 replied to racyrich | 8 years ago
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racyrich wrote:

I've come to the conclusion the correct response is to section such people. If you can't explain your actions, or the explanation is so ludicrous it puts you away with the fairies, then mental illness should be inferred. In the loony bin until you can satisfactorily explain yourself. If and when that happens then we can criminally prosecute.

"Loony bin"? Ffs.

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Housecathst | 8 years ago
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"Thomas Kerr, 28, who claims not to have seen the riders when he ploughed into the back of them"

This would be a get out of jail free card in any UK court. In fact the police would have just handed his keys back at the seen of the crash and sent him on his way, wouldn't have even made it to court.

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FurnaceMedia | 8 years ago
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Haven't they spelt his name incorrectly... I thought it was quids on to be Juan ...

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portec replied to FurnaceMedia | 8 years ago
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FurnaceMedia wrote:

Haven't they spelt his name incorrectly... I thought it was quids on to be Juan ...

It's Australia. More likely to be Wayne.  16

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ron611087 | 8 years ago
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And the most probable cause of inattention is...

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brooksby | 8 years ago
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"Momentary inattention" = "My phone notified me that someone had sent me a text" probably.

He's haunted by losing his driving licence more than by having run down this group. It's Australia after all, where cyclists rank lower than 'Roos.

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portec | 8 years ago
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Between 2008-2010 Kerr was caught speeding twice, as well as driving while disqualified and driving using a mobile phone. He also had a drink driving conviction.

To be caught so often in such a short space of time is far from normal. He clearly has no respect for the law and I'd suggest these actions must be so habitual that he considers them normal behaviour. He needs to be taken off the road before he kills somebody.

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Peowpeowpeowlasers | 8 years ago
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If he has no memory of the crash then he's obviously medically unfit to drive and should be banned until the cause is found.

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Scoob_84 | 8 years ago
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sounds like a bullshit excuse handed to him by his lawyer. he was probably fiddling with his phone or radio

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Must be Mad | 8 years ago
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Quote:

Why do people still try this on? Not seeing something is NOT a defence.

Technically, he pleaded guilty - so he did not try that on as defense.

A salutary reminder that we are all fallible.

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FluffyKittenofT... replied to Must be Mad | 8 years ago
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Must be Mad wrote:
Quote:

Why do people still try this on? Not seeing something is NOT a defence.

Technically, he pleaded guilty - so he did not try that on as defense.

A salutary reminder that we are all fallible.

Well,if he had said he had seen them and decided to drive into them anyway the charge might have been something else, like attempted murder. Ergo, he has successfully used 'not seeing them' as a defense, in a sense, just not against what he's now charged with.

A salutary reminder that the consequences of fallibility are a lot worse when the fallible are driving motorised vehicles.

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Ric_Stern_RST | 8 years ago
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Unless you're blind, right? Wasn't there a case in the last few years in the UK, where someone who was classified as blind or visually impaired was driving and their passenger was telling them what was coming up on the road....

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PaulBox | 8 years ago
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My money, without having read anything about this other than the article above, would be that he was using his phone, send him down.

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gorbie | 8 years ago
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Not quite sure how he is 'haunted forever by the collision', yet 'has no memory of the crash'...

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jollygoodvelo | 8 years ago
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Why do people still try this on? Not seeing something is NOT a defence.

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