No jail for driver who killed 75-year-old

·2-min read

A Melbourne driver who killed an elderly woman when she took her eyes off the road to check on a vase perched in the front seat has been spared a jail term.

Patricia Mica on Friday faced the Victorian County Court, where she was sentenced to a three-year community corrections order after pleading guilty to dangerous driving causing the death of Astrid Norman on a Camberwell street in July 2019.

The 38-year-old had not consumed any drugs or alcohol and was driving under the 60km/h speed limit.

The court was told that due to the traffic Mica would have had an unobstructed view of Ms Norman, who was crossing Riversdale Road, for about three seconds.

But she got distracted by a vase falling off the front seat before killing the 75-year-old woman in broad daylight.

"The taking of a life, even unintentionally, is a grave matter," Judge Fran Dalziel said.

"This case highlights the level of care required by drivers.

"I do not lose sight of the loss suffered by Ms Norman's friends and family, but also take into account that the period you didnt pay attention was very short."

Judge Dalziel also said Mica was "deeply and sincerely" remorseful, had suffered significant mental health problems since the incident and was otherwise of exemplary character.

Ms Norman's daughter Emma Smith, whose brother was also killed by a driver, said she is constantly reminded of her mother's death as she lives near the crash site.

"This was her time to enjoy life without the pressures of trying to fend for herself," Ms Smith said.

"It was her time to go to the theatre, art galleries, and to church.

"My mum is not a faceless statistic - she is one of kind. A really beautiful soul put on this earth. I miss her terribly."

The court was previously told Mica exchanged three text messages in 90 seconds before the fatal collision.

The last was sent 19 seconds before the crash, when she was about 262 metres from the victim.

Her barrister, Paul Smallwood, said there was no evidence she had been looking at her phone when she struck Ms Norman.

Mica must complete 400 hours of unpaid community work, which includes 50 hours of mental health treatment.

"I hope things go well and I have no expectation of seeing you in court again," Judge Dalziel told her at the end of the hearing.

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