A NSW driver has been jailed after fatally striking a schoolgirl and injuring two others while she was behind the wheel.
Puipuiomaota Galuvao, 28, was sentenced to a minimum of two years and nine months behind bars yesterday. Her dangerous driving killed a 16-year-old schoolgirl and injured a 51-year-old woman and an 84-year-old man.
The court heard that in September 2014, the Sydney mother was unlicensed and had absolutely no driving experience when she attempted to drive a friend’s 4WD at Kogarah, in Sydney’s south.
The half sister of former NRL player Joe Galuvao, Ms Galuvao lost control quickly and the vehicle mounted a footpath, ploughing into a busy pharmacy. Year 11 student Aneri Patel was killed in the incident and pharmacy assistant Suzanne Ferguson, 51 and customer Frederick Cook, 84 were both injured.
Sydney’s District Court Judge David Frearson sentenced Ms Galuvao to four-and-a-half years’ jail with no parole for at least two years and nine months.
Ms Galuvao sat quietly as Judge Frearson described her decision to drive that day as “reprehensible” and the consequences of her actions were proven to be inevitable.
“She chose to inflict her incompetence on numerous members of the public,” he said during sentencing.
Joe Galuvao extended his sympathy to the Patel family outside court. “We just pray that they find comfort,” he said.
During the police investigation into the incident, Ms Galuvao told police she had been trying to help her unlicenced friend when she took to the wheel.
Judge Frearson accepted Ms Galuvao had been under pressure to drive that day but said that didn’t excuse her decision to drive that morning.
“Every person within an area reasonably proximate was exposed to the danger she created,” the Judge said.
Ms Galuvao will be eligible for parole in July 2018.
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