Fatal crash driver ‘had no memory’

A YARRAWONGA man told a paramedic he had no memory of why the car he was driving crashed into a tree and killed his mother, a court heard yesterday.

Paramedic Jonathon Harper arrived at the Murray Valley Highway- Woods Road intersection soon after the crash on April 23 last year.

Laraine Smith, 67, had died instantly.

He said he immediately treated a conscious Joshua Michael Smith, 37, in the upturned white Holden Commodore. Smith had no recollection of the crash.

The committal hearing at Wangaratta Magistrates Court later heard Smith had sustained a mild brain injury in the crash and had a seizure in October.

Smith has pleaded not guilty to culpable driving, dangerous driving causing death and reckless conduct.

Other drivers had earlier told the court they had seen Smith’s car travelling at 120 to 140km/h and zig-zagging to overtake other cars.

Susan McAllem yesterday said the white car had overtaken her as she moved from a 60 to 80km/h zone, just outside Yarrawonga.

She said the car was travelling down the centre white line, close to her. When a car approached from the other direction, there were three cars across the road.

The oncoming car was forced to move over — “I don’t know how far it moved, but it moved over,” she said.

The white car overtook a car ahead of Ms McAllem’s and then appeared to “over-correct” and become out of control, almost flipping on its side.

“For me to see the underside of the car means the driver’s side wheels must have been off the ground,” she said.

Detective Sen-Constable David Morris said skid marks he found that were consistent with the accused’s vehicle made him think it was “fairly obvious” the crash had been at high speed.

To defence barrister Scott Jones, Sen-Constable Morris said the driver had lost control “but it is too early to say why and perhaps I still don’t know the reason why”.

The hearing before magistrate John Murphy will resume on July 9.

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