Driver is pleading not guilty to killing Black Hill pedestrian Patrick Bell

Police investigate the crash scene (left) and Patrick Bell (right).
Police investigate the crash scene (left) and Patrick Bell (right).

A boy who went to help a driver allegedly involved in a fatal car crash at Black Hill, realised his brother had been hit by the car when a triple-0 operator asked him the pedestrian’s age.

Patrick Bell, 17, died after he was hit by the car in Chisholm Street shortly after midnight on June 30, 2015. 

Nathan White, 36, is pleading not guilty in the County Court at Ballarat to culpable driving causing death and dangerous driving causing death.

A jury was told on Wednesday Patrick’s brother, Zach, had been searching for him in Chisholm Street when he heard a crash and walked towards it.

The boys’ mother, Rovinnia Richardson, said Zach went to help the driver, but was alerted to someone else injured on the road.

She said Zach initially did not know it was Patrick until he pulled back a hood covering his head. Zach phoned his mother and told her Patrick had been hit by a car.

The first on the scene, Anthony Devito, told the jury he asked Zach to phone triple-0.

Mr Devito said the triple-0 operator asked Zach to identify the age of the pedestrian by moving him. He said Zach then burst into tears, telling the operator the pedestrian was 17 and it was his brother. 

“He kept saying, this is his fault, this is all his fault. He said he chased him out with a knife and was out looking for him,” Mr Devito said.

He told the court drove to Ms Richardson’s house and picked her up so she could be with her son.

Patrick later died in hospital from multiple injuries, including significant head trauma.

Ms Richardson said before her two sons left their Black Hill house, they were arguing over a cigarette and was told a knife was involved.

But two weeks after Patrick died, she said Zach told her a knife was not used.

“He said he was walking up the hill and he heard a big bang and then saw a car into a tree. He said he didn’t see what happened,” Ms Richardson said. 

Mr Devito, who shared a house with White at the time, told the jury he was working at the Golf House Hotel on the evening of the fatal crash.

He served White two schooners of heavy beer, however defence barrister Anthony Lavery suggested Mr Devito served White one beer to which Mr Devito replied with, “I don’t agree with the statement”.

After he finished work about 10pm, he attended a Nicholson Street house to play pool with White and two other men.

Mr Devito told the court White drank two cans of mid-strength beer at the Nicholson Street house and the pair left in separate cars about midnight.

Mr Devito said he was travelling between 50km/h and 60km/h along Chisholm Street because his car would not accelerate up the hill, while White’s car was travelling between 10 and 15km/h faster than him.

“During that journey, between those two places, the vision you have is that (White) was doing 60 to 65km/h?” Mr Lavery asked.

“I disagree. He was accelerating,” Mr Devito said. He said after losing sight of White’s car, he saw something bounce across the road.

“I thought it was a kangaroo. I looked to my right and it was when the boy was lying in the driveway.”

The jury visited the crash location on Tuesday.

The trial continues on Thursday before Judge James Montgomery.