Coroner refers case to DPP

THE Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) will consider whether Tanya Marie Smith, 39, will face charges of dangerous operation a motor vehicle causing death.

Coroner John Lock referred the case to the DPP at Stanthorpe's Coroner's Court yesterday.

Stanthorpe woman Grace Thompson, 75, died after sustaining injuries in a head-on collision at Dalveen, on June 29 last year.

Her husband Bruce, then 79, was driving their Rav4 when it collided with the Mitsubishi Magna Ms Smith was driving.

"I am satisfied there is sufficient evidence for me to reasonably suspect the indictable offence of dangerous operation of a motor vehicle causing death has been committed by Tanya Smith," Coroner Lock said.

He said he accepted Mr Thompson's version of events "in its entirety".

In his evidence, Mr Thompson said he saw the Magna swerve onto the incorrect side of the road, "straight at us".

"It kept coming towards us, so in a split second I made the decision to swerve away from the other car," he said. "I swerved to the right, hoping the other car would continue going straight ahead and pass by us."

Coroner Lock said Ms Smith's evidence and that of the passengers in the Magna, Kodey Fox and Danny Qualischefski, was unreliable given their "apparent memory losses, whether genuine or by convenience".

Coroner Lock also accepted the evidence that Ms Smith allegedly drank up to six bloody mary schooners at O'Mara's Hotel the morning of accident - despite Ms Smith testifying she had only consumed one or two.


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