Family lockdown grief after man’s death | Blue Mountains Gazette
Dale Kennett quickly backed out of a driveway and down a regional Victorian street to get away from what he believed to be a dangerous situation.
What he didn’t notice was that in doing so, he fatally knocked down a man lying in the road.
Robyn Young heard about the fatal accident on the radio. Moments later, she received a dreaded knock on the door.
The victim was her 48-year-old son, Jason Young.
His death came on March 10, 2020, just 13 days before COVID-19 changed everything.
“In grief we were locked away,” Jason’s sister Tammy said.
His parents are victims left with cruel memories of their son who died on the road, tire tracks on their bodies.
“In a split second my parents lost a child, no one is ever ready for the loss of a child,” Tammy said.
They struggle with this loss every day. Jason’s computer – the one he built himself – is still on. His flip flops are still at the front door of the house he shared with his parents and young nephew.
Tammy said her brother had offered to donate a kidney if their father – who has kidney disease – needed it.
Their father is now on a transplant list, waiting to receive one from a stranger.
Kennett, 53, was sleeping in his car at a friend’s house before the crash. He had ice in his system.
His friends had gone out and returned to their home in Hamilton by taxi, with Mr. Young.
Part of the group went inside but Mr. Young and another man remained outside.
Witnesses said they saw the other man knocking on the car windows before Kennett drove off.
Kennett’s attorney, Campbell Thomson, said his client was trying to escape an attack by the drunken man and thought driving away was his only option.
“Had he got away with it, it could have led to a destructive assault from either side,” he said.
He said it was clearly problematic that Kennett was driving at night with his windows fogged up and a single headlight, but maintained that the objective dangerousness of his driving was low.
“No one in Mr. Kennett’s position could have reasonably foreseen that Mr. Young would be lying in the road that night,” he told the county court on Wednesday.
The taxi driver said he did not believe Kennett could have seen Mr Young, while a traffic expert could not tell one way or the other.
Kennett was initially charged with dangerous driving causing death and failing to stop and render assistance.
A jury found him guilty on the first count in August last year, but acquitted him on the second.
Prosecutors argue jail is the only right sentence for Kennett, but Mr Thomson argued the minimum sentence should be nearly nine months which he has already served.
Judge Fran Dalziel will hand down his sentence next month.
Australian Associated Press