Drugged driver jailed over rider death

A driver impaired by a cocktail of drugs has been sentenced to seven years and 10 months imprisonment over the death of Melbourne physiotherapist Harry Papagolas in Spotswood in September 2021.

Papagolas was riding home from work when James Twentyman, 30, drifted into the wrong lane on Douglas Parade, crashing into a Honda Civic and then colliding with Papagolas.

Papagolas died in hospital soon after arrival.

The driver of the car survived.

Twentyman, a plasterer with criminal and speeding offences on his record, was respectively charged with culpable driving causing death and reckless conduct.

The court was told that Twentyman was affected by several drugs, in particular a toxic level of Alprazolam which was highly likely to be the main cause of impaired consciousness.

Police blood tests also found Twentyman’s blood contained methamphetamine, amphetamine and delta 9 tetrahydrocannabinol at the time of the crash.

Police told the court that Twentyman was travelling at a minimum of 91 km/h on the 60 km/h road at the time of the crash and that his Ford Territory continued skidding, with brakes on, for a further 46.7 metres after hitting the oncoming car and before hitting Papagolas.

In sentencing, Judge James Parish said Twentyman had displayed scant evidence of remorse, but took account of his guilty plea.

The sentence has a non-parole period of four years and eight months. All licences in Twentyman's name have been cancelled, and he is disqualified from driving for three years.

Judge Parish declared that had Twentyman not pleaded guilty he would have ordered a total effective sentence of nine years, with a non-parole period of six years.

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