Man jailed for killing wife in drunken car crash

Rex Martinich |

Ferenc Farkas has been jailed for at least six months over a drunken crash which killed his wife.
Ferenc Farkas has been jailed for at least six months over a drunken crash which killed his wife.

A Queensland man has been jailed for at least six months for killing his wife after a “dangerous and selfish” decision to drive while drunk.

Ferenc Farkas, 61, faced Brisbane District Court on Tuesday for sentencing having earlier pleaded guilty to dangerous operation of a vehicle causing death whilst adversely affected by an intoxicating substance.

Farkas also pleaded guilty to driving while intoxicated during the same incident on October 9, 2021, when he got behind the wheel of his SUV with his 55-year-old wife Donna as a passenger.

The pair, who had been married for 31 years, had been drinking at their home in Tingalpa, in Brisbane’s east. Farkas offered to drive his wife to the service station to buy cigarettes at 3.30pm, as he believed he was the less intoxicated of the two.

Crown prosecutor Alex Baker said Farkas was “very drunk” and drove dangerously and was speeding while driving across raised islands that were designed to slow traffic in residential areas.

Farkas failed to turn at a T intersection and hit a tree, causing limb fractures to himself and leaving his wife with a collapsed lung and severe internal bleeding in her abdomen.

“(Donna) suffered catastrophic injuries … she was transported to the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital and ultimately she went into cardiac arrest and did not survive,” Ms Baker said.

Ms Baker said Farkas was breath tested at nearly four times the blood alcohol limit at 0.197.

“There are inconsistencies in his account. At the scene he told witnesses he (might have) blacked out, he told police he twice accidentally pressed accelerator instead of the brake,” Ms Baker said.

Farkas’s barrister, Matthew Jackson, said his client was “overwhelmed by remorse” and should receive a wholly suspended sentence.

“He now has major depressive disorder. His psychological scars are greater than the physical scars,” he said.

Mr Jackson said Farkas had made a “significant break” from his 40 years of alcohol abuse, had completed the traffic offenders program and had a very low risk of reoffending.

“He has not had a sip of alcohol since the day of the incident,” Mr Jackson said.

Judge Nicole Kefford said Farkas’s plan to park his car away from the service station and avoid a major road suggested he knew what was doing was wrong.

“This was a Saturday afternoon when there were people out in the community. It was a dangerous choice and a selfish one,” Judge Kefford said.

“You will undoubtedly have weighing on your conscience having taken a life by getting behind the wheel of a car while grossly intoxicated.”

Judge Kefford said she faced a “difficult task” balancing the sentence with Farkas’s remorse and personal loss with the need to send a message to other drivers.

“Your work colleagues have described you as a ‘broken man’ and I accept that,” the judge said.

Farkas was sentenced to five years imprisonment to be suspended after six months and disqualified from holding a licence for two years.