A crown prosecutor said a Stawell woman's speeding "indicated a lack of attention" when she allegedly caused a crash which killed four women in another car.
Lorraine Nicholson, who has pleaded not guilty to four charges of culpable driving causing death and the alternative four charges of dangerous driving causing death, appeared in the County Court in Ballarat on Wednesday.
The accused woman's Jeep T-boned a Kia driven by Elaine Middleton and carrying passengers Margaret Ely, Dianne Barr and Claudia Jackson, aged 64 to 75, at Stawell-Avoca Road and Ararat-St Arnaud Road at 6pm on May 5, 2018.
The four women returning home from a line-dancing competition in St Arnaud died from their injuries.
Crown prosecutor Andrew Moore said the accused was "an undeniably good woman" according to character references, her speeding was the "cause of this clash of calamitous circumstances".
- Day 1: Defence says woman 'missed the brake' to cause Navarre quadruple fatal
- Day 2: Major Collision Investigation Unit police officer says road conditions were dry and it was daylight
- Day 3: Witnesses to fatal crash heard 'the loudest bang'
- Day 4: First police on the scene said Navarre fatal cars both had 'major damage'
- Day 5: Navarre fatal accused tells of the 'devastating' moment of impact
He told the jury that airbag data from up to five seconds before the crash stated Nicholson had slowed "only slightly" to the 89km/h recorded on impact, and was over the speed limit as the road she was travelling was an 80km/h zone, despite knowing she would be required to stop ahead.
Mr Moore said her speed "indicated a lack of attention from what she was doing". He called Nicholson's police interview evidence that she hit the accelerator "fanciful, belated, reconstructive guesswork", and data showed neither the accelerator nor brake was touched from 3.9 seconds before the collision.
"Those stop signs at that intersection were put there for a reason, that was to protect motorists travelling on the road," Mr Moore said. "Ms Middleton, travelling at the speed limit, was entitled to assume she had free passage through."
But defence lawyer David Hallowes told the court Nicholson started taking her foot off the accelerator at 4.2 seconds before the crash, which investigators gave evidence was sufficient time to stop at upcoming crossroads if she had successfully braked.
"She starts that whole process, taking her foot off the accelerator so she can brake 100 metres from intersection; she hasn't failed to heed all those signs," he said.
The defence lawyer argued the prosecution had not proven beyond reasonable doubt the woman was negligent. He urged the jury to review the police interview with Nicholson where she was adamant she tried to brake, saying the woman presented as "someone telling you what happened in those fateful seconds".
"In that situation when you're going to brake, you might imagine how quickly (four seconds) might go," Mr Hallowes said.
The court also heard character references from friends and colleagues of Nicholson, including Grampians Community Health's program leader of information and assets Luke Bibby.
He told the court the accused was "as honest as the day is long" and while at work was "very pedantic, extremely organised, and manages herself extremely well".
The trial continues.
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