Emma Kent outside the County Court of Victoria earlier this month. Picture: AAP /James Ross
Emma Kent outside the County Court of Victoria earlier this month. Picture: AAP /James Ross

Driver jailed after taking eyes off road, hitting cyclist

A driver who ran over a cyclist after briefly taking her eyes off the road to change the music playing in her car will spend nine months in jail.

Emma Kent, 24, sobbed throughout today's sentencing hearing, and looked shocked as a judge ­announced her punishment.

She pleaded guilty in the County Court to a charge of dangerous driving causing the death of Gareth Davies, 57, on Black Forest Drive at Macedon last December 10.

Mr Davies was run down as Kent tried to connect her mobile phone's Bluetooth to the car's audio system.

She told police she was distracted for about 10 seconds.

"I was pressing play, changing from the radio to music on the (phone's) radio," she said.

"That's what I was doing that distracted me."

Police ruled out drugs, ­alcohol, fatigue, or speed as being factors in the crash.

Want to keep up to date on the latest cycling safety stories? Click here to see more and receive notifications. 

Judge Sue Pullen said Mr Davies's death was due ­entirely to Kent's inattention.

While noting Kent's ­expressions of guilt and ­remorse, she said a non-custodial sentence would be "manifestly unsuitable".

"The distress to both families - Mr Davies's and your own - is evident," she said. "But their loss is permanent."

The scene on Black Forest Drive in Macedon after the crash. Picture: Jay Town
The scene on Black Forest Drive in Macedon after the crash. Picture: Jay Town


Mr Davies's daughters told the court of their loss at a hearing two weeks ago.

"In the first 24 hours after I found out, it felt like the world and my life was ending," Rhia Davies said.

"I cannot put into words the amount of complete, consuming rage I feel towards the accused."

Her younger sister, Ffion, said she was haunted by the memory of having to give her grandmother the news. She said: "After my dad was killed, my whole world fell apart."

Bicycle Network boss Craig Richards said Mr Davies's death was a costly lesson to drivers to keep their eyes on the road at all times.

"There are no winners in terrible situations like this.

"A young woman is in prison, a partner, father and son has been lost forever, and the bike-riding community is feeling the pain of another lost life," Mr Richards said.

After Kent is released from jail she must serve a two-year Community Corrections Order, during which she must complete 100 hours of unpaid community service.

She must also submit to a mental health assessment and complete driver awareness programs.

Her driver's licence was cancelled for two years.

- AAP



Building industry taskforce starts work

premium_icon Building industry taskforce starts work

Building industry taskforce gets down to work

NBN warning as scammer concerns spike

premium_icon NBN warning as scammer concerns spike

There is an easy way to tell if callers are from the NBN, it says

Quiet street gone to waste as threat of new dump looms

premium_icon Quiet street gone to waste as threat of new dump looms

Houses are as close as 10 metres from the proposed site