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Heartbroken mum's plea: Don't drive tired

Kirsty Henry with a picture of her daughter Jada Norford, who died after a fatigued driver crashed.
Kirsty Henry with a picture of her daughter Jada Norford, who died after a fatigued driver crashed. AAP - John Gass

HOLDING a necklace engraved with her teenage daughter's fingerprint, a heartbroken mum has begged fatigued drivers to think again.

Kirsty Henry should be preparing for her daughter Jada Norford's 16th birthday next month.

Instead, she watched Gregory Lee Clarke, 42, being sentenced for dangerous driving causing her daughter's death.

Jada, 14, and two other teens were passengers when fatigued driver Clarke crashed his car.

Jada spent 13 days on life support after the Kingaroy man fell asleep behind the wheel in December 2016.

The Dalby girl died on New Year's Eve that year.

Clarke knew he was tired but drove anyway.

"He's the reason why she's not here," Ms Henry said on Tuesday, after Clarke's sentencing at Brisbane District Court.

Ms Henry, who visits her daughter's grave each month, wears her daughter's jewellery to keep her close.

 

REST IN PEACE: Tributes have flowed in on social media for 14-year-old Dalby girl Jada Norford, who died from injuries sustained in a horrific car crash last month.
REST IN PEACE: Tributes have flowed in on social media for 14-year-old Dalby girl Jada Norford, who died from injuries sustained in a horrific car crash last month. Contributed

Clarke was jailed for two years and 9 months, but the sentence will be suspended after four months.

He spent 260 days in custody before his sentence.

"The sentence was disgusting," Ms Henry said.

"He's only in there for another four months. My daughter, we've got to live every day without her."

Earlier, Ms Henry told the court of the terrible loss Jada's loved ones faced.

"Do not drive tired, do not drive with drugs in your system," she said.

The court heard Clarke had a criminal history, including driving offences, and was on bail when the crash happened.

He had traces of drugs including ice in his system but the court heard fatigue was the agreed cause of the crash.

Ms Henry said Clarke was a "friend of a friend" who offered Jada, Jada's older sister Tori, and teenage friend Cameron Egan a lift.

The court heard Clarke did not want to drive, but relented after pressure.

Ms Henry did not accept that.

"I don't even believe it would have happened that way. He's an adult," she said.

"I heard he stopped for 40 minutes. So why the bloody hell start driving again?

"Why get back behind the wheel (knowing) that you're tired?" Ms Henry said outside court.

Clarke fell asleep when driving about 4.45am on December 19.

The four-door sedan drifted off Dalby-Kogan Rd, down into a dry creek bed, hit a tree and spun around.

"The tragedy flowing from your offending is extreme," Judge Jennifer Rosengren told him.

But the judge added: "You are clearly deeply sorry."

Jada would have turned 16 on March 25. -NewsRegional

Topics:  dalby crime dangerous driving causing death driver fatigue editors picks fatal crash gregory lee clarke jada norford kingaroy crime kirsty henry kogan mental health


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