A woman sobbed in court after being jailed over a crash that led to the death of a baby.
Dimple Grace Thomas, 32, was supposed to turn left onto the South Gippsland Highway last year when she veered across three lanes towards a break in the median strip, hitting a car driven by Ashlea Allen, who was 28 weeks pregnant.
Baby Melarniah was born by emergency caesarean and died two days later, reports 9 news.
Thomas cried as she was jailed in the County Court on Wednesday for a minimum 15 months after pleading guilty to dangerous driving causing death.
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Outside court, the baby’s mum told reporters: “The sentence can never take back the fact we lost our daughter.”
Judge James Parrish said Thomas knowingly disobeyed traffic signs indicating she must give way and only turn left onto the highway, putting her moral culpability “at least mid level”.
He did not accept that she honestly believed she was allowed to perform a U-turn at the centre road strip.
“I’m satisfied beyond reasonable doubt you were acting in wanton disregard to the law,” he said.
The prosecution suggested Thomas was trying to take a short cut home, but the judge was unable to make that finding.
Judge Parrish accepted Thomas was remorseful and that she risked being deported to her native India upon release. He also noted her time in custody would cause hardship to her husband and young son, but did not find the case warranted exceptional circumstances.
“The consequences of your driving have caused the death of a young baby girl. Such offending is serious,” he said, in sentencing her to two-and-a-half years jail.
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