A truck driver who caused a six-car pile-up that resulted in a woman dying 12 days later has been sentenced to a minimum two-and-a-half years jail.
Terrence Paul Nicholson pleaded guilty to one charge of dangerous driving causing death and one charge of being the driver of a vehicle that was moving on a road and using a mobile phone.
The County Court heard Nicholson was driving an empty cattle truck along the Western Ring Road, near the Boundary Road exit, about 6.08am on June 16, 2016, when he failed to stop his truck in time and hit the rear of the car in front of him.
The crash caused a chain reaction, with six cars in total being hit.
The driver of the car Nicholson hit, a mother of two, was trapped in the wreckage for nearly an hour and was flown by air ambulance to the Alfred Hospital with head injuries. She died 12 days later.
The court heard that although Nicholson had not been speeding at the time of the collision, his speed of 99km/h was too fast for the traffic conditions.
Nicholson had also admitted to using a mobile phone while behind the wheel about six minutes before the collision.
Judge James Montgomery noted that Nicholson, who had been psychologically assessed as having a learning disability that had never been addressed properly, made an early plea and was genuinely remorseful following the crash.
Despite this, Judge Montgomery said the crash was easily avoidable.
“Given the sight distance available to you in the lead-up to the collision, a minimum of 500 metres, and that you were 38.7 to 60.8 metres from the deceased’s vehicle when you first perceived the hazard in front of your truck, it is my view that this was a serious breach of the proper management and control of your vehicle.
“By your actions, you placed a number of other motorists in a position of severe risk or either serious injury or death.”
Nicholson was sentenced to four years’ jail with a two-and-a-half year minimum, is disqualified from driving for the next decade and was fined $500.