Eight years jail for killer driver in New Year’s Eve smash

Gemma Sargent.

Gemma Sargent.

Gemma Sargent, 20, of Ballarat could spend up to the next eight years behind bars for causing the death of a young man in a horrific car crash in December 2015.  

The heavily-pregnant Sargent was sentenced in the County Court on Monday, November 6, after she was found guilty of culpable driving causing death, and negligently causing serious injury in September. 

Gemma Sargent  cried in the County Court of Victoria while being sentenced for losing control of her car and crashing, killing her passenger, Natheniel Merritt-Price on New Year’s Eve, 2015.

"You grossly overestimated your abilities as a driver. There was no need for you to pass a car that was itself driving 30km/h over the speed limit," Judge James Montgomery said.

On December 31, 2015 Sargent was involved in a single car crash on Buninyong-Mercer Road in which 19-year-old Nathaniel Merritt-Price was killed. 

The crash scene (left) and Nathaniel Merritt-Price (right).

The crash scene (left) and Nathaniel Merritt-Price (right).

Sargent was later found to be driving the car and was charged with four counts including culpable driving, dangerous driving causing death, negligently causing serious injury and dangerous driving causing serious injury.

During the trial, the court heard Sargent was driving with only a learner’s permit and no one in the car was qualified to supervise a learner driver. 

The court also heard Sargent was driving up to 180km/h on the night on the crash. 

While she initially pleaded not guilty to the charges, a jury found her guilty after a four-day trial at the County Court sitting at Ballarat in September this year. 

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