A driver whose pregnant partner was killed when he fell asleep at the wheel, a year before he caused another crash in Darwin that seriously injured his new partner, has been jailed in Western Australia.
- Michael Dixon has been jailed over a 2019 crash that killed Mel Duffey
- Dixon had not slept for more than 72 hours before the incident
- A year later, he was involved in another crash that seriously injured his new partner
Michael Dixon, 37, pleaded guilty to dangerous driving causing the death of 31-year-old Mel Duffey in Coolup, about 100 kilometers south of Perth, on December 13, 2019.
The District Court was told Dixon had not slept for more than 72 hours.
Traces of methamphetamine were also found in his blood and he admitted injecting the drug two days before the crash.
Ms Duffey, who had wanted to return home from their camping trip because she was worried about her three children, was thrown from the vehicle and died at the scene.
She was six months pregnant.
After the crash, Dixon moved to Darwin, where a year later, in December 2020, he crashed an all terrain vehicle into a street sign, seriously injuring his new partner, former police officer Kristi Wenck.
Dixon had been drinking with friends at a party beforehand and he pleaded guilty in the Northern Territory to driving under the influence as well as dangerous driving causing harm.
He was given a suspended jail term, but he was later extradited to Perth to face the charge over the crash that claimed the life of Ms Duffey.
Judge Mara Barone accepted Dixon had made the decision to drive because Ms Duffey was concerned and anxious about her children and not because of a selfish desire to return home.
“You drove because you believed it was the right thing … it proved to be a disastrous decision,” Judge Barone told a tearful Dixon.
She said Dixon must have been aware of the extent of his fatigue and of the risk he would fall asleep.
Judge Barone highlighted Dixon’s subsequent offenses in the Northern Territory and told him he needed to understand that he could not drive in a manner that put the safety and lives of others in danger.
She sentenced him to three years’ jail — he will have to serve 18 months before he can be released on parole.
Dixon was also disqualified from driving for five years.
Outside the court Ms Duffey’s mother, Cindy Rogers, fought back tears as she described the sentence as “wrong”.
“I’ve still got her children, they’re with me and they want their mum and I can’t give them their mum and it’s his fault,” she said.