Driver heard girlfriend take last breath before she died
SCOTT Hunter listened to his girlfriend take her last breath moments after a ute had collided with the vehicle they were in.
He'd been driving and the 23-year-old, Calliope Fay-Van Heusden - better known as Poppi - had been seated next to him when a purple ute struck the front passenger side.
Stephanie Jade Tesselaar, the former Seaforth woman responsible for the fatal crash at Constant Creek, was jailed for two years yesterday, convicted of dangerous driving causing death.
Mr Hunter and Poppi had been travelling on the Yakapari-Seaforth Rd heading towards the Bruce Hwy on March 17 in 2013.
About 8.45am Mr Hunter saw a ute, driven by Tesselaar, then 22, travelling towards him on the wrong side of the road for about 80 to 100 metres.
He attempted to avoid a collision by driving to the right so the ute could pass, but it swerved towards the vehicle striking it.
While on the phone to 000 he described "hearing the breath go out" of Poppi, crown prosecutor Brendan Manttan said.
Tesselaar, who was a P-plater, had a blood alcohol reading of 0.03%, he said.
The District Court in Mackay was told she'd been out at Mackay nightclubs until 3am where she and a friend had gone to the beach because she wasn't able to return to her room where she was staying at Mackay Harbour.
She thought she would have been right to drive.
Defence barrister Bronwyn Hartigan said her client was "genuinely remorseful".
Tesselaar cried as she pleaded guilty to the two charges. The crash has had a significant and ongoing impact on her health, the court heard.
In a letter Tesselaar read to the court yesterday, she said, "If I could trade places with Poppi I would."
"I'm so sorry for this tragedy," she said.
The now 24-year-old will serve six months in jail before being released on a suspended sentence with the balance to hang over her head for two years. She was convicted and disqualified from driving for three years.