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Jail for hit-and-run driver

A teenager who smashed into another car while on his way to get drugs, leaving the victim trapped in a burning car with life-threatening injuries, has been sentenced to more than three years’ jail.

Joshua Luke Winters, 19, thought he was being chased by an undercover police car as he sped along Livingston Avenue in Kambah in January, on his way to pick up cannabis in a stolen car he had borrowed from a friend.

He drove straight into the intersection with Sulwood Drive at peak hour, ploughing into the driver’s side of another car at speeds of between 60-80km/h.

The victim – who was in court for the sentencing on Thursday – was left trapped in his car with serious head injuries.

Winters ran from the scene, not stopping to check on the other driver. The victim’s car caught fire, and despite the ‘‘valiant’’ efforts of passers-by, he was not freed for 20 minutes.

The crash left the victim fighting for his life for 20 days in the intensive care unit. He suffered a permanent brain injury, permanent scarring, and burns to his lung, chest, foot and arm.


He was transferred to a specialist brain injury unit in Sydney – coincidentally, the same unit where Winters’ cousin was treated after a serious crash several years ago.

Winters was on bail at the time, and was unlicensed, having never held a licence. The teenager was sentenced for a series of nine offences by Chief Magistrate Lorraine Walker on Thursday afternoon.

The victim’s partner wept as Ms Walker made her sentencing remarks, in which she described Winters’ ‘‘appalling criminal record’’.

The court heard his father was sent to prison for hitting Winters’ mother when he was just seven.

He has taken drugs and alcohol since the age of 12, and was kicked out of school at 13. Winters was sentenced to three years and nine months’ jail, with a non-parole period of two years and six months.

That will be reduced by 80 days for time already served.

Winters said ‘‘thank you very much’’ as he started to walk out of the court room.

It will be six years and six months before he can apply to the court for a licence.