A 21-year-old provisional driver with three passengers on board lost control on Bowen Drive last year while doing more than twice the 50km/h speed limit, resulting in the car becoming airborne for 28 metres, rolling and crashing.
Timothy Higgins faced sentencing in the ACT Supreme Court on Friday after the major accident in the early hours of April 18 last year which resulted in significant injuries to all the vehicle occupants.
One of the occupants had his right forearm almost severed in the crash and required 10 operations to preserve his limb and repair the damage.
The driver had been charged with three counts of culpable driving causing grievous bodily harm. He had also been found with cannabis in a sample of his blood taken after the incident.
The car was also out of registration.
Two of the occupants managed to free themselves from the wreckage but Mr Higgins and another occupant, 20-year-old Dimitri Velanis, remained trapped. Mr Velanis, a rear seat passenger, was rendered unconscious and the roof had to be cut off the Hyundai Getz to free the trapped men.
The court was told that the car came to rest almost 75 metres from where it left the roadway.
In a statement read to the court, one of the occupants had stolen a fire extinguisher earlier in the evening and set it off in the car "as a bit of a lark". All of the passengers admitted to having been drinking that evening.
Acting Justice David Robinson SC found Mr Higgins had driven at a "speed which ... reflects the neglect of his responsibility to drive safely, a responsibility he owed to other road users and, in particular, to the passengers in his car".
However, he said there was no evidence which suggests "the offender was skylarking or intending to show off".
"Probably, the offender, through inexperience or misjudgement, drove far too fast at what was, unbeknown to him, a critical point in the roadway and on a route with which he was insufficiently familiar," he added.
"He [Mr Higgins] realised the danger very belatedly. Once the danger became clear to him, he was unable to control the vehicle."
The court was provided with clinical evidence which indicated the driver's injuries were also likely to result in "lifelong effects" from the blunt force trauma suffered to his lower left leg and ankle.
Justice Robinson recognised there was low risk posed to the community from the offender but there was "a need to prevent crime by deterring other people from committing the same similar offences".
He sentenced Mr Higgins to three counts of imprisonment totalling 34 months and 15 days but ordered the sentence be served in the community by way of an Intensive Corrections Order under the supervision of ACT Corrective Services..
He also disqualified the driver for two years and fined him a total of $600 for the drug-driving offence and for using an unregistered vehicle.