Dubbo mechanic fined over teen apprentice Darby Paxton’s death
A mechanic has been fined more than $400,000 after his teenage apprentice was crushed to death while working on a truck.
KML Auto Electrics in Dubbo, New South Wales, was this week ordered to pay the fine following the death of Darby Paxton, 18, in January 2020.
Mr Paxton had only just started his apprenticeship 18 days earlier.
The garage’s early guilty plea saw the fine reduced by 25 per cent, from $500,000 to $375,000.
The mechanic has also been ordered to pay $32,600 in prosecution costs, leaving the final bill at $407,600.
Mr Paxton and mechanic Kurt Michael Lew were working on an Izuzu tilt cab truck when the tragedy struck, the NSW District Court heard.
The truck had been raised appropriately but Mr Lew did not manually install a lock pin that would have kept the truck raised.
Mr Lew then left to attend another job, leaving Mr Paxton to finish off the repairs.
The teenager was later crushed when the truck collapsed on him after he brushed the lever, the court was told.
Mr Lew later found Mr Paxton under the vehicle. Paramedics could not save his life.
“The heartache that Darby’s family endures is unending, unrepentant and devastating,” Judge Wendy Strathdee said, referencing heartwrenching statements delivered by his loved ones.
“The family now cannot get together to celebrate any milestone event as the absence of Darby makes it unbearable. Their grief is oppressive.”
Mr Paxton’s mother has been unable to return to work as a nurse following her son’s death and his father is “tortured” that he was not with his son when he died.
Judge Strathdee shared her condolences before the court, saying it was clear the 18-year-old was an “adored and integral part of the family”.
“Having had the honor of hearing the statements of Darby’s family, it is evident that Darby was a loved, adored and integral part of his family,” she said.
“It was impossible for those who heard the statements to be unmoved. The grief they feel is acute and their devastation seems endless. I convey my deepest sympathy to Darby’s father, mother and sister, and hope that they may, at some time, find some softening of their suffering.”