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‘You took my soulmate’: Impact of truckie’s fatal decision

The heartbroken family of a much-loved bus driver killed in a collision has relived the "colossal" trauma they felt after his death at the hands of a truck driver, who was jailed today for his reckless decision to speed.

Peter Wayne Bohlsen, 62, was killed when the bus he was driving from Canungra to Logan Village was hit by a truck on November 17, 2016.

The Brisbane District Court was told this morning that driver Ronald Trevor Gallaty, 67, used "excessive speed" as he took the sweeping bend of Waterford Tamborine Rd at Yarrabilba in November 2016.

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The court heard Gallaty was towing a trailer which skidded onto the opposite side of the road and hit the bus when he took the bend at 80km/hr, despite drivers being advised to approach it at 40km/hr.

 

Peter Wayne Bohlsen died three days after the crash. Picture: Supplied
Peter Wayne Bohlsen died three days after the crash. Picture: Supplied

 

One passenger was thrown into the windscreen and Mr Bohlsen died days later in hospital surrounded with his wife, two daughters and family by his bedside.

Mr Bohlsen's wife Ally told the court she had given her soulmate and best friend a "hasty kiss" before waving him off for work on the morning of the crash.

"One phone call three hours later changed everything in a second," Mrs Bohlsen said.

"That was almost four years ago and the pain from this tragedy is still as fresh today. Peter's death has had a colossal and lasting impact on me, my life and my children's lives."

 

Lisa Sharp and Sarah Taylor daughters of Peter Bohlsen outside court. Picture: Annette Dew
Lisa Sharp and Sarah Taylor daughters of Peter Bohlsen outside court. Picture: Annette Dew

 

Mr Bohlsen's daughter Sarah Taylor read a heartfelt statement to the court about how she had been hopeful that he would pull through, but "collapsed to the floor" when she was told his life support would be turned off.

"We stood around his bed, all his siblings, his mum, his kids and his grandkids, all holding him while waiting for him to die," she said.

"It was the most beautiful and horrible moment of my life."

His three siblings also gave the court statements about the kindness of Mr Bohlsen who was "simply the best" brother and a proud Queenslander who loved the State of Origin.

Gallaty pleaded not guilty to the single charge of dangerous operation of a vehicle causing death, but was convicted after a judge-only trial in August.

 

Peter Bohlsen’s daughter Sarah Taylor hugs her aunts after the sentence. Picture: Annette Dew
Peter Bohlsen’s daughter Sarah Taylor hugs her aunts after the sentence. Picture: Annette Dew

 

His barrister Alistair McDougall told the court Gallaty was a loving family man who had stayed at the scene of the crash and tried to help Mr Bohlsen.

He said Gallaty knew "his actions had caused an immense amount of pain".

"I'd ask your honour to be as lenient as you can to a good man who has lived a blameless life who has a loving and caring family as well," barrister Alistair McDougall said the judge.

But Judge Ken Barlow said Gallaty refused to accept personal responsibility for the collision by pleading not guilty and arguing that the truck's automatic brake assist system had caused the crash.

"You displayed in my view, a cavalier disregard of the risks you were taking and the safety of other road users," he said.

Gallaty was sentenced to three years' jail, suspended after 12 months.

He was disqualified from driving for three years.

Originally published as 'You took my soulmate': Colossal impact of truckie's fatal decision