An Adelaide man has been convicted of driving under the influence of “a cocktail of drugs”, driving on the wrong side of the road, and killing a cyclist – and respected GP – who “did everything right”.
Most important points:
Doctor Byron Gordon was killed while cycling on Jan 1, 2021Darren James White pleaded guilty to causing death by dangerous driving White had multiple drugs in his system at the time
Darren James White, 52, initially pleaded not guilty to causing the death of Byron Gordon, 60, by dangerous driving on Henley Beach on New Year’s Day 2021, but later changed his plea to guilty.
The court was told that White had methamphetamine, MDMA, and cannabis in his system when he met Dr. Gordon, struck head-on about 7:30 a.m. before crashing into a tree.
Evidence was given that White had held a New Year’s Eve event with friends and family the night before and dropped off a friend at home that morning when the crash occurred.
Byron Gordon was a GP at the Kingston Family Clinic in South Brighton. (Supplied: Healthline)
During the sentencing, Dr. Gordon told Wendy told the court that she would never forgive White for changing “the trajectory of her life” and killing her partner.
“Byron was a hard-working, good man,” she told the court.
“I can’t say how sad it is that, after years of hard work, Byron has missed all the holidays, experiences, and life events. [that] what he was looking forward to.
“Whangers megry is that Byron did everything right the day he was killed. He wore bright clothes, had front and rear lights, cycled on the far left, and chose a quiet, safe path.
“Byron deserved to be safe that day.”
She told the court she stopped riding her bike after the incident and asked Judge Emily Telfer to impose “the harshest possible punishment”.
“I’ve been robbed of my partner, and nothing can replace that void” [nor] take that loneliness away,” she told the court.
Judge Emily Telfer will sentence White in court next week. (ABC News)
Dr. Gordon’s daughter, Stephanie, a paramedic, told the court she had just finished her New Year’s Eve shift when she received the devastating news.
“I was well aware of what would happen to him by the side of the road, aware of the trauma his body had suffered,” she wrote in her victim statement.
“It feels so cruel” [that] this is the way my father was killed. He was the safest rider I know.
“I know he would have done everything he could not to get hit that day and to come home to us.
“Your decision, actions, and selfish behavior killed my father and changed my world.”
Dr. Gordon’s family and friends leave the court after the pre-conviction hearing. (ABC News: Claire Campbell)
White read a letter of apology to the court and said he regretted his actions.
“I am ashamed and sick of what I have done,” he told the court.
“I am truly sorry for the suffering I have caused.”
Driver tested positive for at least three illegal drugs
Prosecutor Tali Costi told the court that White was under the influence of at least three illicit drugs — methamphetamine, MDMA, and cannabis — when he said Dr. Gordon he killed.
She said White had also used cocaine but was not under the influence during the crash.
“There is a certain correlation [between] amphetamine use and MDMA, [and] drifting off the side of the road as a common occurrence for drivers driving under the influence of those substances,” Ms. Costi told the court.
“And also impairing his ability to correct or evade promptly to avoid a collision.
“The defendant chose to drive that morning with no real urgency or necessity for him to do so while under the influence of multiple substances.
“The risk involved is known and realized, and catastrophic.”
The accident happened on Seaview Road near Henley Beach. (ABC News: Simon Christie)
White’ thought he was okay to drive
However, White’s attorney, Stacey Carter, told the court that her client had no criminal history and was a “polite, cooperative, and kind man” who was “sincerely sorry”.
“Accidents happen every day. Mr. White didn’t expect to wake up and start the new year fresh by killing someone,” she said.
“It wasn’t his intention; it’s not in his nature.
“It was 7 in the morning… he thought he felt he was okay [to drive], and he wasn’t.
“He’ll regret it for the rest of his life.”
Ms. Carter told the court that White accepted that the incident was his fault and would take any punishment the court imposed.
She said White had not driven since the incident and had no plans to go in the future.
White had his bail revoked after the hearing and will receive a maximum sentence of life imprisonment and a driving ban for at least ten years.
Judge Telfer will sentence White next week.