Fury over soft penalty for drug driver who hit teen
THE furious family of a youth who suffered permanent brain damage after being hit by a drug driver say the man's court sentence is a "kick in the guts".
Robert Thomas Summerville was yesterday given a $500 fine and a one-month suspension after pleading guilty to drug driving, driving an unregistered vehicle and failing to comply with duties of a driver involved in a crash.
The 16-year-old he hit had to be revived on the side of the road on June 6 last year after he was trying to cross Bermuda St in Burleigh Waters.
High on ice, Summerville briefly stopped at the crash, but "panicked", drove home and called police.
"I've just done the wrong thing," he told the Southport Magistrates Court. "I didn't expect someone to run out in front of my car at that time of night."
The court was told Summerville had previously been caught speeding, running a red light, and was busted for drug driving in 2007.
He was fined $500, which was referred to SPER, and disqualified from driving for one month with convictions recorded.
The teen spent 14 days in an induced coma, 10 weeks in hospital and has undergone hours and hours of rehab to right a broken femur and brain injury.
"The fight for us is to get our son healthy and better, but now to have this, it's a kick in the guts. It would be for any parent," his dad said.
"To walk out of court with a $500 fine and a suspended licence, it's disgraceful.
"He died at the scene."
The family has also lashed out at police for not telling them about Summerville's day in court.
"My wife has bawled her eyes out. Why weren't we told about court? Why couldn't we attend?"
He said his boy had a long battle ahead of him.
"He is back at school now. He only goes for a couple of hours a day, it's a big leap for him," the father said.
"He has definitely had significant brain damage. We probably won't know for two years if it's excessive or mild brain damage. It's definitely affected his personality, he's on medication, he's not the same."
Outside of court, Summerville said: "I mean $500 it's not too bad but I'm not happy with the whole situation."
He said he had not been in contact with the family of the teenager as they were trying to re-open the investigation believing he was at fault.
"Driving unregistered, yes I was wrong. (Driving) under the influence, yes I was wrong," he said.
"But I'm not going to take responsibility for a kid to run across the road and hit my car when I was doing the right thing anyway, turning right to go home."
Summerville, a father of two, said he was glad the teen was recovering.
"What happened wasn't my fault, their son ran out in front of my car. I'm just glad the boy's okay. He could have died."
"I've hardly had any sleep for the last six, seven months because every time I shut my eyes all I see is him laying on the ground."
Bizarelly he reminded parents to keep an eye on their children, understand what they were doing and who they were with as they do "stupid things today".