Walker lay injured while hero dog ran for help
A WOMAN was out walking her dog when she was struck by an out of control vehicle and thrown headfirst into a rock wall, causing a traumatic brain injury.
An Ipswich court heard how Shaune Martin was lucky to survive the incident, especially as those first on the scene did not even realise she lay injured beneath the branches of an uprooted tree.
The driver of the vehicle, Ashna Aravindan, 32, from Augustine Heights, pleaded guilty to driving without due care and attention causing grievous bodily harm when she faced Ipswich Magistrates Court.
Police prosecutor Jack Scott tended pictures of the crash scene and a medical report from the brain injury rehabilitation unit at Princess Alexandra Hospital, where Ms Martin was treated.
Mr Scott said Aravindan was driving a silver Honda CRV at 5.30pm on October 11 last year, heading southwest on Cardena Drive at Augustine Heights when the vehicle lost control, mounting the footpath and hitting a tree before striking Shaune Martin.
Ms Martin was thrown into a retaining wall, with the vehicle continuing on and crossing the median strip before eventually crashing onto its roof some distance away.
The court heard nearby residents helped Aravindan out of her vehicle, not realising the pedestrian lay injured nearby.
Mr Scott said Ms Martin's dog Max ran home covered in the blood of his owner and alerted her partner David Symes that something had gone awfully wrong.
"She was found at an uprooted tree," Mr Scott said.
"She was taken to Princess Alexandra Hospital in a critical condition," Mr Scott said.
The court heard the cause of the crash was largely unexplained.
"The motor vehicle lost traction, the road was wet. The car had no mechanical defects," Mr Scott said.
"Shaune Martin suffered greatly from (Aravindan's) presumed moment of inattention. It is important the court does not lose sight of the victim here.
"It resulted in significant trauma and has had a significant impact on Ms Martin's life.
"It was quite obvious her life was in peril.
"When we lose vigilance or control of a vehicle we should face consequences."
Aravindan was not interviewed by police until June this year, telling investigators she was unaware she had struck a pedestrian.
Defence barrister Robert Gordon said Aravindan worked as a meat technician, was a mother of two, and arrived in Australia from India in 2010.
She had no traffic history, no speeding offences and had since completed a road traffic offender program.
He said clearly the accident had impacted very significantly on the victim.
"She is very remorseful for her actions. It was a fleeting momentary inattention as opposed to being dangerous," Mr Gordon said.
"Nothing but a very sad accident where she veers off the road and overcorrects. She believed she didn't hit anyone."
Mr Gordon sought a $500 fine with $1500 paid as compensation to Ms Martin, saying Aravindan was an upstanding citizen and no conviction should be recorded as it may impact her future employment.
Magistrate Andy Cridland said the injuries to Ms Martin had been life-threatening.
Mr Cridland noted that when spoken to by police in June, Mrs Aravindan said that she: "did not see the victim, it was not her fault, that's what insurance is for to cover injuries".
Mr Cridland attributed the remarks to English not being her first language.
She also wrote a letter of apology saying -"I apologise to the victim. I would never intend to hurt anyone."
Mr Cridland said a medical report detailed a traumatic brain injury.
"There is no doubt Ms Martin received horrific injuries and it has had a major impact on her standard of life, both her mental and physical capacity," Mr Cridland said.
"There is nothing (in evidence before the court) that explains what was the momentary inattention.
"The course taken by the vehicle, not just hits a tree and stops. It continues on for some time.
"In my mind it is indicative of something more than just a momentary inattention.
"While there is nothing to suggest she was affected by any substance this calls for something above a fine."
Aravindan was convicted and sentenced to two months jail, immediately suspended for nine months. She was disqualified from driving for six months.