National

SA truck driver jailed over fatal crash

By AAP Newswire

A South Australian truck driver who killed his 22-year-old passenger while driving under the influence of ice has been jailed for more than three years.

David Edward Goddard, 58, killed Shane Zelenko when his truck slammed into a tree at Tanunda, in the Barossa Valley, in 2017.

In sentencing on Wednesday, District Court Judge Joanne Tracey said the pair were on their way back from a worksite, where Goddard had been observed smoking ice several times a day.

She said the rebound effects of methamphetamine combined with sleep deprivation proved deadly, and the truck's speed fluctuated as it drifted before the crash.

"You would have had great difficulty maintaining attention on the road, and this could have resulted in the reported manner of your driving prior to the collision as well as the nature of the collision," she said.

Judge Tracey said Mr Zelenko was a "much-loved person" and his death had taken a great toll on his family and friends, who were present in court for the sentencing.

"He was only young, had a partner and was looking forward to fulfilling all the plans that he and his partner had made," she said.

"Clearly, from what I have been told by his family and friends, there is profound grief and lives have been shattered by his tragic and unnecessary death."

She sentenced Goddard, who had pleaded guilty to dangerous driving causing Mr Zelenko's death, to three years and six months in jail with a non-parole period of two years, nine months.

Upon release, he will be disqualified from driving for another 12 years.

Immediately following the sentence, emotions boiled over as Mr Zelenko's mother, Joanne Wynne, yelled: "my son is worth more than two years and nine months".

Outside court, Ms Wynne slammed the sentence as "disgusting" and said it was no deterrent to others.

She said she had hoped Goddard would be jailed for at least six years.