March 21, 2023

No jail for Wangaratta mum who killed two motorsport enthusiasts in horror crash – ABC News

A Victorian woman who killed two men when she crashed into their car after becoming distracted while driving has escaped a jail term.    

Wangaratta mother Jodie Ann Contacolli, 46, appeared via video link at Wangaratta County Court on Friday, and pleaded  guilty in order to two matters of harmful driving causing the deaths of Jamie Drummond, 64, and Peter Turner, 77, within 2020.

Contacolli  cried as Judge Michael Cahill read out a sentence associated with 300 hours of community service more than three many years.

She must also receive psychological treatment and her driver’s licence will  be cancelled with regard to 18 months.

The judge said if she had not pleaded guilty, Contacolli would have been sentenced to two yrs and eight months’ imprisonment with the non-parole period of one year and four months.

“The taking of a human life by driving a vehicle dangerously is a serious crime, ” Judge Cahill said.

“In your case, two innocent people died.

“Your daughter distracted you, and in a lapse of judgement, you took your eyes off the road with dreadful consequences. ”

Family ‘angry and disgusted’ by outcome

Mr Drummond’s family has hit out at the sentence, which they say was merely “a slap on the wrist”.

Mr Drummond’s widow, Yvonne,   stated it was “just pitiful” that Contacolli avoided jail.

She said she had not ruled out launching an appeal.

“I’m so angry plus I’m disgusted that she’s grasped at straws to get her local community service order and not go to jail, ” Mrs Drummond  mentioned.

“I’m so angry that the judicial system offers failed us. ”

However the particular victim’s son, Trevor Drummond, said the family  experienced been bracing itself for this outcome.

“We were expecting it, all because associated with the lead-up to it from the court hearing a couple days ago, ” he said.

“But it’s a bitter pill to swallow when you actually hear it.

“It’s a pretty tough day. ”

the exterior of a court building

Jodie Ann Contacolli has pleaded guilty to two counts of dangerous driving leading to death. ( ABC News )

Motorsport enthusiasts  killed instantly

Mr Drummond and Mr  Turner  were test traveling a vintage Holden FJ sedan on June 13, 2020, whenever Contacolli damaged into the rear of the car, killing all of them instantly.

The two men had slowed the car to turn into an airport at Laceby about 9. 50am when  Contacolli smashed in to the vehicle at 100kph.

The courtroom heard Mr Drummond’s child, Trevor, got been waiting at the particular airport gate for his father and Mr Turner  when the accident occurred.

He told investigators he didn’t see Contacolli’s car slowing down, plus thought there must have already been an overtaking lane.

She  had been generating to pick up the girl mother in order to take her shopping, and her two-year-old daughter was in the back seat.

Contacolli said she had been glancing  to the rear-vision mirror to look in her child once the crash occurred.

A man sits in front of a car

Motorsport enthusiast Peter Turner, 77, was  killed while test driving a classic car. ( Supplied: Facebook )

‘They were just there’

Distraught after the accident, Contacolli  told witnesses the girl had looked up plus “they had been just there”.

She said it “happened very quickly, ”  and she have been distracted simply by her young daughter.

Contacolli later informed police the lady had noticed a car in the distance, but couldn’t remember how far away it was, and could not recall in case she braked before the crash occurred.

Accident reconstructions estimated the mother could have taken her eye off the road regarding anywhere from 1 . 4 to 14 seconds.

But the court heard, based on witness accounts, it has been likely to be “closer to a lower figure”.

Families suffer intense grief right after crash

Determine Cahill stated the victims’ families acquired suffered “intense sadness, loss and grief” within the wake of  the particular crash.

This individual said Mister Drummond’s girl, Emma, had been a perioperative nurse plus treating road trauma victims triggered “intense, painful thoughts” of the girl father’s death.

Meanwhile their son, Trevor, works in the airport near where the crash occurred, and mentioned the constant reminder of that traumatic day was “taking its toll”.

Mr Turner’s daughter, Jenny, said her father was a legend inside the motorsports community, and a great dad plus storyteller.

The girl acknowledged Contacolli’s decision to take her eyes off the particular road has been “perhaps something we’ve almost all done” — but stated it had been a decision that will had robbed both families of their loved ones.

Judge satisfied grounds intended for lighter phrase

Judge Cahill  said Contacolli was referred for psychological care following the accident and diagnosed along with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

He mentioned psychologists stated that  Contacolli was “acutely aware” she was responsible for the accident plus felt genuine remorse for her role within taking 2 lives.

The particular court heard Contacolli was also a carer for her mother, that had early-onset dementia and was declining rapidly, as well as the primary carer for the girl young child.

In handing out his sentence, Assess Cahill said he was satisfied there were compelling reasons why Contacolli should not become imprisoned, including her PTSD and need to care for her family.

He stated the absence of prior convictions and her genuine remorse also contributed to him ordering the lighter sentence.

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