An American man has been sentenced to 18 months in jail for causing a crash on Perth’s outskirts that killed his wife and a toddler, and injured four others.
Jerome Rubin, 61, from Massachusetts drove on the wrong side of the road in Bedfordale in March this year, and crashed head-on into another car.
Rubin’s wife Joan, 60, died at the scene, while a two-year-old girl who was in the other car, Carmen Julius, died in hospital the next day.
Rubin’s daughter was injured along with the father, mother and grandfather of the toddler.
The District Court was told despite road signs showing the road was a single lane, Rubin believed he was still driving on a dual carriageway.
His lawyer Mark Andrews described his client as a man of “impeccable character” who had no previous traffic or criminal convictions.
He said Rubin had wanted to take part in mediation with the toddler’s family but they had refused, and Mr Andrews said his client respected their decision.
“He sits before you a broken man,” Mr Andrews told the judge.
“He’s racked with the guilt knowing he caused the death of his own wife … and Carmen … and caused serious injury to his own daughter and three other people.”
Mr Andrews said the crash was the result of Rubin’s unfamiliarity with driving in Australia and he had otherwise been an extremely cautious and conscientious driver.
Judge Michael Bowden accepted that Rubin was genuinely remorseful and that he was of otherwise excellent character, but he said the offences were so serious that an immediate jail term was needed.
He also accepted that jail would be difficult for Rubin because of his age and poor health and because he was far away from his family.
“[But] at the end of the day, it’s so serious because of the deaths of two people, the grievous bodily harm to three others and the bodily harm to another,” Judge Bowden said.
“Regrettably, a suspended sentence would fail to adequately reflect the serious nature of the offences.”
Rubin will have to serve nine months before he can be released.