Family’s grief as woman killed in crash caused by trampoline
THE family of a Gold Coast woman, who died after a massive trampoline disintegrated and flew from a trailer into her car, say their world has been destroyed.
Herleen Koen, 63, died about two weeks after a piece of the trampoline slammed into her car's windscreen near Mount Tamborine in August last year. The metre-long metal pipe shattered the window and struck the mother-of-three and grandmother in the head.
Mrs Koen's vehicle then veered off the road, through a concrete and barbed wire fence before careering across a paddock and into a tree 100 metres away. Her daughter, Giselle Koen, was travelling in another car that was also struck by part of the trampoline.
"Glass flew everywhere in my car," she said in a victim impact statement read to the Brisbane Supreme Court on Thursday.
As Ms Koen, who was also badly injured, struggled to bring her car to a stop she spotted her mother's vehicle being speared by the trampoline.
"To witness my mum's car driving past me in my left-wing mirror and into a paddock ... I live with that every day," she said.
Mrs Koen suffered a significant brain injury and skull fracture, spending 13 days in intensive care before her family made the heartbreaking decision to switch off her life-support system.
"She was not only my mum but my best friend. She is not going to be there when I get married and will never meet my kids," Ms Koen said.
"I have never felt such loss ... my world was destroyed."
Benjamin Joseph Hogan, 40, was responsible for the trampoline. He attempted to tie it down on its side to the trailer he was towing behind his ute. But its large size meant it stuck up about four metres above the trailer's sides and broke apart as he increased speed.
Hogan pleaded guilty to dangerous operation of a vehicle causing death.
"That dangerous operation was constituted by driving a vehicle with a load exceeding the allowable height," Justice David Boddice said.
"Your dangerous driving came as a consequence of the disintegration of a load you had taken steps to secure."
Justice Boddice sentenced Hogan to two years' imprisonment but he was released on parole immediately.
Originally published as 'World destroyed': Family's grief after woman killed in crash caused by trampoline