When Paul Arthur Rieck tried to help his 90-year-old partner move her vehicle, his sandal got caught under the brake pedal, and as a result, he accidentally caused her death.
Rieck, now 83 years old, has been suffering from sadness since the passing in February 2021 of the “vibrant, kind, and loving person,” according to testimony presented before the Brisbane District Court on Monday.
Rieck and his partner have been together for the past 16 years at the time of this sentence.
When the tragedy hit, the woman was moving in with him and had already packed her car full of home belongings in preparation for the move. She also had her townhouse on the market at the time.
According to the court’s findings, she approached Rieck for assistance after she crashed her vehicle into a signpost.
After moving the driver’s seat forwards and jamming household goods behind it, Rieck was unable to adjust the seat despite feeling squished and uncomfortable.
After getting his sandal caught underneath the brake pedal, he accidentally backed into a garden bed and a fence.
As Rieck pushed forwards with his foot on the accelerator, he panicked and shifted gears, which caused him to run over his partner and then crash into a wall.
In the retirement community where Rieck lives by himself, the only mode of transportation available to him is a mobility scooter. In June of 2021, he voluntarily turned in his driver’s licence. According to him, Rieck’s only option for getting around is the mobility scooter.
Rieck pled guilty to one count of causing a death by carelessly operating a vehicle.
His driver’s licence was revoked permanently, and he was sentenced to an 18-month jail.