[News] Man who killed teenager in Queensland beach crash allowed to drive again

A man who rolled his car on a Queensland beach and killed a 16-year-old female passenger will be allowed to drive again, after being released from prison having served eight months.

Mitchel James Hawkins, now 26, crashed his car in 2017 on a beach near the Five Rocks campground in the Byfield National Park, about 35 kilometres north-east of Yeppoon on the central Queensland coast.

Mitchel Hawkins.

Mitchel Hawkins.Credit:Facebook

On the evening of November 25 that year, Hawkins, who was 21 at the time, had been drinking with others, but it was not alleged he was significantly impaired.

Hawkins had two passengers when he went for a drive up the beach – a male friend who was asleep on the back seat, as well as 16-year-old Hannah Dingle, who was in the front passenger seat and did not know him.

Hawkins overtook another vehicle that was travelling on the beach at 60 kilometres per hour. As he sped across the natural bumps in the sand, his vehicle began to “bounce”.

Hannah Dingle.

Hannah Dingle.Credit:Facebook

Hawkins did not slow down, resulting in his vehicle becoming airborne and rolling. His passengers were not restrained, but only Hannah Dingle – an only child – was killed in the crash.

Hawkins, a qualified diesel mechanic, had modified his vehicle by fitting large tyres, raising the suspension and removing the stabilising bar.

In April 2019, Hawkins, then 23, pleaded guilty in Rockhampton District Court to one count of dangerous operation of a motor vehicle causing death.

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