A Ballarat woman who fatally hit an elderly man while driving with drugs in her system has avoided a jail term.
Heidi O'Neill struck 78-year-old Winton Wells as he crossed Sturt Street on May 9, 2018.
O'Neill, 37, had taken methylamphetamine the night before to help ease the pain caused by an autoimmune disease and it was still in her system when the crash happened.
Mr Wells died in hospital 20 days later.
O'Neill told police she had not seen him on the road and felt like he 'simply appeared'.
The 37-year-old op shop manager avoided a jail term in the County Court of Victoria on Monday, after pleading guilty to dangerous driving causing death and also admitting to drug driving.
There is no evidence drugs or speed contributed to the crash and the prosecution case relied on O'Neill's failure to keep a 'safe and proper lookout'.
Judge Liz Gaynor handed O'Neill a two-year community correction order, also ordering she perform 200 hours of unpaid work and not drive for 18 months.
Mr Wells' widow, Norma, said life without her husband of 59 years was "excruciating".
"I just get so lonely at night. Every sound is amplified. It's just so frightening. For the first time in my life I am alone in a house," she told the court in a statement.
The court heard the couple had not children and had 'totally relied on each other'.
Judge Gaynor said Norma no longer felt personally safe and worried something would go wrong when she was driving a car.
Mr Wells did not use a pedestrian crossing and walked into oncoming traffic crossing the road on the way back from an optometrist's appointment, before he was hit in the right hand lane.
Your psychological suffering in relation to this offending has been extreme.Judge Liz Gaynor
O'Neill was remorseful and had stopped using illicit drugs to manage her chronic Lupus pain since the crash, Judge Gaynor said.
She had also developed post-traumatic stress disorder, tried to take her own life and remained 'depressed and anxious'.
"Your psychological suffering in relation to this offending has been extreme," Judge Gaynor said.
"You were not in a hurry, you were not speeding, Mr Wells stepped onto Sturt Street into oncoming traffic. The charge is on basis of you failing to keep a proper outlook.
"Immediately after the accident you stopped, you ran to Mr Wells, you screamed out to others to call for help, you attended to bleeding of his head wound and you stopped others from moving him from where he was as you have had some training in emergency situations and knew this could cause him further injury.
"You were fully cooperative with police and expressed remorse in your record of interview."
Judge Gaynor said O'Neill avoided a term of imprisonment because her moral culpability was low and her offending did not have aggravating features such as speeding.
"I am satisfied you have excellent prospects of rehabilitation and do not pose any danger to the community," she said.
"Whilst general deterrence is an important principle in sentencing in cases of this kind, due to the low moral culpability and the low level of seriousness when compared to other possible scenarios for this type of offence, I should place you on a community corrections order."
Judge Gaynor indication O'Neill would have been sentenced to six months imprisonment had she not pleaded guilty.
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- Australian Associated Press, with Rochelle Kirkham
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