A MOTORIST who caused a crash that killed a 20-year-old woman on the Western Freeway in 2010 will spend up to seven years behind bars, while another man has been jailed for two years for his part in the crash.
Breanna Willmott was killed instantly when her car became sandwiched between two other vehicles on the Western Freeway at Myrniong in 2010.
Yesterday, Travis John Dunkley-Price, 37, and Brett James Stevenson, 25, appeared in the County Court at Melbourne and were sentenced for their parts in the crash.
A jury had previously found Dunkley-Price, of Blackwood, guilty of culpable driving and negligently causing serious injury, while Stevenson, of Dales Creek, was found guilty of dangerous driving causing death and dangerous driving causing serious injury.
Dunkley-Price was ordered to spend seven years and three months behind bars, with a minimum stay of five years and three months, while Stevenson was jailed for two and a half years, with a minimum period of 18 months.
The court heard Dunkley-Price, who did not have a driver’s licence at the time, stopped his vehicle in the left running lane of the highway in darkness just after 6pm on July 19, 2010.
Throughout the trial, his defence counsel had argued he was in fact stopped in the emergency lane.
Breanna Willmott and her female passenger were forced to stop behind his car, then Stevenson crashed into the rear of her car at 110km/h.
Ms Wilmott died at the scene and her passenger, Stephanie Bewley, was seriously injured.
In sentencing, Judge Sue Pullen said the crash would not have occurred and Ms Willmott would still be alive if Dunkley-Smith had obeyed the law and not been driving while he did not have a valid licence.
She labelled his stopping in the middle of the freeway as “gross negligence”.
“Your stopping on the freeway (albeit you believed it was the emergency lane), in a 110km/h zone, in the dark, with traffic present at that time of day, was a bad example of ‘gross negligence’,” Judge Pullen said.
“Whilst there are no doubt worse examples of this offence, I consider your offending to be at the higher range of culpability involving gross negligence.”
In sentencing Stevenson, who had no prior convictions, Judge Pullen said there was no evidence of brakes being applied at the collision, but noted the 25-year-old had little time to make a decision to avoid Ms Willmott’s vehicle.
Both men have already spent 81 days in custody.