Foreigner didn't know which lane to drive in
A JUDGE has told a foreign national that overseas drivers must learn Australia's road rules, after hearing how the Korean's car was driven on the wrong side of the road at night with no lights when it collided with another vehicle.
A woman and her adult daughter had to be cut from their wrecked Holden Colorado after they were hit head-on.
An Ipswich court this week heard how an innocent 26-year-old woman suffered awful injuries and will endure lifelong medical symptoms.
The South Korean driver who caused the crash says he prayed weekly for their mercy and forgiveness.
In the Crown case before Ipswich District Court, Kyenghoon Lee, 23, pleaded guilty to dangerous operation of a motor vehicle causing grievous bodily harm to Amanda Bailey-Brown on October 24, 2017.
Crown prosecutor Farook Anoozer said the crash happened at 7.20pm on a sweeping bend of Munbilla Rd, just outside Kalbar.
The injuries suffered by Amanda Bailey-Brown - a front-seat passenger in the Holden ute driven by her mother Marion Bailey-Brown - required emergency surgery.
She also suffered a broken collarbone. Mr Anoozer said the Hyundai driven by Lee had no headlights on but was seen approaching.
Just minutes from home, the Kalbar woman slowed down, but was unable to avoid the impact.
He said the aftermath had devastating consequences for both women.
Lee told police he had driven on the incorrect side of the rural road for about five minutes leading up to the crash.
He said he was driving at night for the first time after buying the car. Speed, alcohol or drugs were not involved.
Defence barrister Nick McGhee said Lee had written two letters of apology and wanted to meet the victims to apologise.
He'd come to the area on a working visa to improve his English language skills but was now here on a medical visa because of an arm and nerve injury suffered in the crash.
Lee had a degree in computer engineering but planned to join the South Korean Marine Corps or police force.
At the time of the crash he'd been onion-picking in Boonah.
"It was the first time he'd driven at night. He was confused as to the correct lane," Mr McGhee said.
"He was tired after completing a 10-hour work shift and he made that error."
Judge Horneman-Wren SC said Crown facts stated Mrs Bailey-Brown had seen him approaching on the sweeping bend and slowed down.
Her lights had been on and she'd been able to see him.
Mr McGhee sought an entirely suspended jail sentence of 18 months for the offence.
Judge Horneman-Wren said there was no doubt Mrs Bailey-Brown expected him to swerve back on to the correct side of the road as he approached.
"Because of your inexperience in driving in Australia you were not alert at the time that you were in fact on the wrong side of the road," the judge told Lee.
"You lack of appreciation of Australian road rules has placed you on a collision course with their vehicle.
"The effects of your offending on the Bailey-Brown family have been quite devastating," he said.
"The daughter Amanda had to undergo emergency surgery and in all probability would have died without that surgery.
"The ongoing effects for her have been profound.
"You have frankly acknowledged they didn't deserve the pain and suffering that they continue to have as a result of your mistake.
"But visitors to Australia who choose to drive must now the rules when driving in our country."
Lee was sentenced to 20 months' jail, wholly suspended for three years.