The final moments before a deadly car crash which saw a woman killed and her sister jailed have been revealed.
Candice Lee Chmieluk, 31, will spend the next three months in jail for driving drunk and causing a crash that killed her younger sister Sammy-Jo on the Gold Coast.
Candice was sentenced in the Southport District Court on Monday to five years’ imprisonment after pleading guilty to one charge of dangerous operation of a motor vehicle causing death while adversely affected by alcohol.
Candice and Sammy-Jo had gone out for a celebratory lunch at a local Surf Life Saving club – but it ended with the pair being so drunk that one of them got into a fight with another woman before being barred from the venue.
Kristy Chmieluk (pictured: right) has appealed for her younger sister Candice (pictured: left) to be spared jail time over a car crash that killed youngest sibling Sammy-Jo (pictured: centre)
Candice Lee Chmieluk (pictured: right) will spend the next three months in jail for driving drunk and causing a crash that killed her younger sister on the Gold Coast
Staff at the Currumbin Vikings Surf Life Saving Club were so concerned about the pair that they took their keys off them, the Gold Coast Bulletin reported.
Somehow they convinced staff to hand back their keys, and Candice ended up driving a black Dodge Journey.
Witnesses said the vehicle became airborne after speeding away from the club at 5.33pm.
The car reportedly mounted a median strip, knocked down street signs and veered onto the footpath.
Eventually the vehicle was sliced in two when it hit a pole, sending debris flying up to 110metres from the crash site.
Candice was pulled from the wreckage, while Sammy-Jo died immediately. Candice returned a blood alcohol reading of 0.202, more than four times the legal limit.
Candice was driving drunk when she crashed into a traffic light at such speed that the vehicle she was driving was was sheared in half – Sammy-Jo was killed instantly
The third Chmieluk sister, Kristy, spoke of the closeness of her siblings in her victim impact statement, the Gold Coast Bulletin reported.
‘The loss of my baby sister Sammy-Jo has been utterly unbearable for me, though I have forgiven Candice and I am committed to supporting her.’
She said while the children were growing up their mother Sharon was ‘never emotionally present or affectionate’, and Kristy said she looked after her younger siblings as if she was the mother.
‘They were close, as close as two sisters and best friends can be, they did everything together, they were like twins, they were inseparable.
‘Their inseparable relationship is what makes this situation even more devastating as Candice is the reason her best friend and sister is not here to support her through this.
‘I know Candice will never forgive herself and will forever constantly live this fact.’
Her family had appealed to Judge David Kent for her to avoid jail for the offence, despite the crash on May 29, 2016, at Palm Beach claiming the life of her younger sister.
Reading the victim impact statement, Kristy said the accident and subsequent criminal proceedings had put the entire family’s lives on hold.
‘The loss of my baby sister has been utterly unbearable,’ Kristy told the court.
‘But I have forgiven Candice.
‘If she is sent to jail I will be losing my second sister.’
Reading a victim impact statement, older sister Kristy said Candice (pictured: right) and Sammy-Jo (pictured: left) had been inseparable friends
Staff at the Currumbin Vikings Surf Life Saving Club were so concerned about the pair that they took their keys off the sisters
As well as her own remorse and mental health issues following the crash, Chmieluk’s family said she was the sole carer for her two young children and they would be unduly punished by their mother’s incarceration.
Despite the emotional pleas, however, Judge Kent said a wholly suspended sentence would be ‘manifestly inadequate’ given the seriousness of the offending.
‘At the end of the day you should have to serve a minimal amount of imprisonment,’ Judge Kent said.
‘I accept, as I have made clear, you have suffered and continue to suffer to a large degree as a result of these events – as, of course, have others.’
Chmieluk has also been disqualified from holding or obtaining a driving licence for a period of five years.
Despite the emotional pleas, however, Judge Kent said a wholly suspended sentence would be ‘manifestly inadequate’ given the seriousness of Candice Chmieluk’s offending