Woman jailed after causing death of partner in tragic crash

Two years ago a live-in couple were supporting each other through their problems – but now one is dead and the other is in jail after a devastating car accident. Read on news.com.au

Amber Peers will spend at least one year in jail after a crash that killed her partner Rowan Penberthy. Picture: Supplied

A woman with a traumatic upbringing was able to cut back on drinking with the help of her “supportive” live-in boyfriend.

But now one of them is dead and the other is in jail after she drove into a tree in a horrific car accident, killing him.

Amber Peers was sentenced to two years and six months jail by the County Court of Victoria on Wednesday after earlier pleading guilty to dangerous driving causing the death of Rowan Penberthy.

The 28-year-old will spend a minimum of 12 months in prison before being eligible for parole.

She attempted to overtake a 26-metre-long B-double truck on the Goulburn Valley Highway near Shepparton in country Victoria on the afternoon of July 21, 2019.

She didn’t see signs indicating the overtaking lane was ending, she later told police.

When the B-double truck began to merge right into her lane she slammed on the brakes.

The car skidded out of control for 50 metres across the road and crashed into a tree, rolling and coming to rest against wire fencing.

Peers suffered minor injuries but her partner Mr Penberthy died at the scene.

She was “shattered” by his death and had been drinking one litre of spirits every day since then, her family told the court.

Peers’s mother described her as a “kind, gentle soul who has struggled to find a reason to live following Mr Penberthy’s death”.

Judge Amanda Chambers said Peers experienced a “traumatic” childhood marked with violence.

She saw a gun held to her mother’s head and was once pushed out of a moving truck, Judge Chambers said.

“You have experienced poor mental health for many years,” she said.

But Mr Penberthy was a “significant source of emotional and social support”.

With his help she had been able to reduce the drinking she relied on to cope with PTSD from childhood experiences, Judge Chambers said.

They had been in a relationship for three years and lived together in Echuca.

Aged 30 when he died, Mr Penberthy was described by his family as a “gentle giant” who loved animals.

His parents said his death was “soul-destroying” and he would never be able to carry on the family name with children of his own.

“He was a beautiful and gentle soul,” Judge Chambers said, reading from their victim impact statement.

“They remember their son as a bit of a dreamer.

“He would love to have a chat with anyone who would listen.”

Judge Chambers said Peers was genuinely remorseful, but she was jailing her “to send a message to other road users”.

An investigation of the crime scene suggested she had been driving at a minimum of 128 km/h when she tried to overtake the truck.

She had no alcohol or drugs in her system, and the road conditions were good.

“Dangerous driving is a serious offence, and an innocent and much-loved young man has lost his life,” Judge Chambers said.

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