News State Victoria News Drunk, drugged driver Jesse Reid jailed for killing police officer Victor Kostiuk on charity ride

Drunk, drugged driver Jesse Reid jailed for killing police officer Victor Kostiuk on charity ride

Detective Senior Sergeant Victor Kostiuk was the officer-in-charge of Frankston's family violence unit before he was killed.
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Drunk and high-on-ice driver Jesse Reid has been sentenced to 10 years in prison over the 2018 death of policeman Victor Kostiuk, who was taking part in a charity motorbike ride in Victoria.

Reid, 23, was speeding and had consumed alcohol and methamphetamine in the hours before he struck the 59-year-old veteran police officer, who was on his motorcycle on the Princes Highway near Orbost in East Gippsland.

He had also taken valium just before he hit Victor Kostiuk.

County Court Judge Trevor Wraight said Reid would have been incapable of proper control of his vehicle.

“You showed a complete lack of regard for who may have been at risk from your conduct,” Judge Wraight said in sentencing this morning.

During a plea hearing earlier this month, the court heard Reid, who was on a probationary licence, was heading to Melbourne after learning his pregnant partner had gone into labour.

A friend had blown into an interlock mechanism on his car numerous times during the trip so that it would start.

Many witnesses observed erratic and dangerous driving by Reid in the hours before the crash, and reported him travelling at speeds of up to 200 kilometres per hour, sometimes on the wrong side of the road.

Judge Wraight told Reid his conduct at the scene of the crash was “callous and reprehensible”.

Victor Kostiuk was riding with his son when he was struck head-on by Reid’s car. Photo: County Court

The court heard Reid walked towards Victor Kostiuk’s son and fellow police officer Felix Kostiuk, who had witnessed the crash and was trying to assist his father.

“You approached him in an aggressive manner and verbally abused him,” Judge Wraight said.

The court heard Reid had used methamphetamine, and had consumed some beer to celebrate the birth of his son which had taken place while he had been driving.

Victor Kostiuk worked in the family violence unit of Victoria Police and was taking part in the Wall to Wall ride, which raises money for police charities.

A 38-year veteran of the police force, the court heard he was much loved and respected by family, friends and colleagues.

Outside court, Victor Kostiuk’s son Felix said the trauma of his father’s death haunted him daily.

“It’s constant, it is day in, day out,” he said.

“From the moment I wake to the moment I sleep and even my dreams are just invaded by this … it is a physical injury as much as anything.”

Victor Kostiuk’s widow Pauline (left) and son Felix (centre) spoke to journalists after Reid was sentenced.

The court heard Reid had posted numerous videos of himself on social media, showing him driving dangerously and at excessive speed.

The interlock device was installed after a previous driving violation and required a zero blood alcohol reading to start the car.

During the trip the device was activated to retest the driver.

“When you’re too f***ed to drive and your baby’s been born and your mate comes through,” he could be heard saying in the video.

On at least four occasions, Reid’s 16-year-old companion, known to the court as AB, blew into the device.

In March, Reid pleaded guilty to one charge of culpable driving causing death and two charges of reckless conduct endangering life.

Reid suffers post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of being sexually abused from the age of 13, the court was told.

It was at that time he started using drugs.

Reid will have to serve seven years before he is eligible for parole.