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Guilty pleas reveal deadly danger of drug-driving

Kayden Lawson drug driving Jordan Brown

Two young men will soon be facing the harsh reality of jail time because they got behind the wheel under the influence of drugs – but that’s not the worst of it.

One of them left an innocent woman he’d never met with injuries so severe that she nearly died at the scene.

The other killed three of his mates.

Kayden James Lawson and Jordan Brown both pleaded guilty to their actions, but this provides little comfort to those who suffered as a result.

Lawson, 22, was high on cannabis and in a psychotic state when he was filmed driving at around 200km/h in the breakdown lane of the M1 Pacific Motorway at Morisset by a truckie’s dash cam just before 7am on November 10, 2014.

Shortly afterwards, he smashed into the rear of Kristyn Rourke’s ute and sent it through a guard rail and down a 10m drop off an overpass.

She suffered a fractured neck, a lifelong brain injury, the loss of her right ear, the near-complete “traumatic amputation” of her left arm and the de-gloving of her face.

Remarkably, Ms Rourke said she felt “a bit sorry” for Lawson due to his mental health issues.

Brown, 21, tested positive to a high level of ecstasy in his bloodstream after he failed to negotiate a sweeping bend on the Bells Line of Road at Bilpin at around midday on August 30, 2015 and smashed sideways into an oncoming vehicle.

Ben Sawyer, 19, Luke Shanahan, 21, and Lachlan Burleigh, 17, died at the scene and the elderly driver of the other vehicle suffered serious injuries.

The group had left a bush ‘rave’ hours earlier.

Brown pleaded guilty yesterday to all charges which included three counts of dangerous driving occasioning death, negligent driving occasioning grievous bodily harm and driving with an illicit drug.

Lawson was sentenced yesterday to four years’ jail for dangerous driving occasioning grievous bodily harm with illicit drugs present in his system and failing to stop to render assistance.

With a 25 per cent discount for his guilty pleas and a finding of reduced “moral culpability” due to drug-induced psychosis, his non-parole period of two and a half years means he will be eligible for release on August 12, 2019.

But there can be no question that their lives have been ruined, along with the lives of those affected by their drug-addled actions behind the wheel.

NRMA has previously reported on the dangers of drug driving and the facts behind roadside testing as well as chairing a roundtable discussion on how to fight the scourge.

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