German backpacker jailed over fatal collision

TRAGIC SCENE: A German man has been sentenced following a head-on crash, 4km south of Stanthorpe, which claimed the life of a woman in March.
TRAGIC SCENE: A German man has been sentenced following a head-on crash, 4km south of Stanthorpe, which claimed the life of a woman in March. Emma Boughen

A GERMAN backpacker will spend four months in jail for killing a Wallangarra mother in a horror crash earlier this year.

Alex Hagen Florschutz picked up two friends from the Blue Topaz caravan park on the night of March 18, and started to travel north on the New England Hwy.

The Warwick District Court heard the 21-year-old man was driving on the wrong side of the road for about 1.38km when he collided with the 44-year-old woman's car.

Maria Wyeth was on her way to pick up her daughter from work and was travelling from Stanthorpe to Ballandean in her daughter's blue Holden Barina.

She was killed instantly.

Florschutz admitted guilt to a paramedic on the scene and again to police and doctors in hospital.

He had been driving in an overtaking lane on the opposite side of the road and failed to recognise his mistake.

The court heard both of the vehicles approached a slight bend in the road and their view of oncoming traffic was blocked by trees.

There were no signs of breaking or swerving and no skid marks on the road.

Investigations determined Florschutz's blood alcohol concentration was zero and speed wasn't a factor.

The head-on impact left Florschutz with a broken leg and his passengers with other minor injuries.

The tourists were transported to Stanthorpe hospital.

In the weeks following the crash, Florschutz sent letters to Mrs Wyeth's family expressing his sorrow and guilt.

The judge took into consideration the good character of Florschutz, his early guilty plea and the remorse he had shown when delivering his sentence.

He was sentenced to two years jail, which is to be suspended for two years after he has served four months.

"I regret that a young man of good character, such as yourself, finds himself in this situation," Judge Brendan Butler said.

In his victim impact statement, Mrs Wyeth's husband wrote about the panic attacks he suffers when travelling to Stanthorpe.

He said he now has anxiety and depression and suffered financially when he lost his wife.

Mrs Wyeth's daughter said her mother was her best friend and outlined the significant life events her mother would now miss.

Topics:  court fatal crash wallangarra

Stanthorpe Border Post

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