17 November 2021

New father thrown into the air after Christmas Day hit-and-run

| Albert McKnight
ACT Law Courts

Samuel Carrasco has been jailed for driving into a man on Christmas. Photo: Michelle Kroll.

On Christmas Day 2020, a new father was packing his car for a trip the following morning when a drunk driver, upset after an argument with his mother, intentionally swerved into him, propelling him metres through the air.

Samuel Carrasco, 24, from Queanbeyan East, was sentenced to 18 months’ jail over the hit-and-run in the ACT Magistrates Court on Monday (15 November).

The victim had been in his driveway in Conder that night when he saw Carrasco do several burnouts in a Hyundai i30 up and down his street. He also saw him swerve towards two of his neighbours who were also standing nearby.

When Carrasco then accelerated towards his victim, the man tried to step out of the way. But Carrasco swerved at him too and hit him with the car’s bonnet, throwing him 10 metres onto a driveway before driving off.

Prosecutor Lauren Knobel said the man had fortunately not been seriously injured. He told police he was left with a leg graze and pain in his hands, but in a statement read to the court, he described how badly the incident had impacted him overall.

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“Unfortunately the memories of my son’s first Christmas are not filled with happiness and joy,” he said.

The hit-and-run made him fear he might lose his family and he started having flashbacks of being launched “metres into the air”.

The man had been in a serious car crash when he was young in which he lost his mother and was told he may never walk again. Carrasco’s actions made him relieve this period.

Legal Aid lawyer Edward Chen said his client had lived a largely institutionalised life since he was first sentenced in the Children’s Court as a 10-year-old, while Special Magistrate Margaret Hunter said Carrasco’s history of criminal behaviour was the length of a “tome”.

“He’s had a very, very sad childhood, but he’s 24 now, he should know better,” she said.

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Mr Chen said Carrasco had “very little support in society” and on Christmas last year he had a falling out with the only person who supported him – his mother.

Magistrate Hunter said Carrasco had said he was shocked by his behaviour, but she found that difficult to understand given how he had been sentenced for other driving offences.

She said he used his car menacingly towards people who were not on the road and had intentionally swerved towards his victim.

Carrasco had pleaded guilty to charges of aggravated furious, reckless or dangerous driving, as well as using a car as an offensive weapon.

He was given a non-parole period of 12 months, which means taking into account time served he is eligible to be released from jail in May 2022.

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