Vic woman jailed for fatal truck move
After flying past two cars in a rural highway overtaking lane, Amber Peers tailgated a truck before beginning to pass it doing at least 128km/h.
But as she reached the rear trailer of the B-double truck on Victoria's Goulburn Valley Highway near Shepparton in July 2019, the lane ended and the truck began to merge.
Peers, claiming she never saw the warning signs, slammed on the brakes and lost control of her car, veering across the highway and clipping a concrete drain before slamming into a tree.
Peers' partner Rowan Penberthy, in the passenger seat, bore the brunt of the impact and was killed instantly while Peers escaped with only minor injuries.
On Wednesday she was jailed for two-and-a-half years for the dangerous manoeuvre that robbed the 30-year-old Echuca man of his life.
Peers pleaded guilty to dangerous driving causing Mr Penberthy's death.
Prosecutors had called for a prison sentence, saying she had driven well in excess of 100km/h.
It's not clear exactly how fast she had been going, but other drivers described her as flying past them. Crash investigators determined she was doing at least 128km/h when she braked.
The court heard that Peers, a licensed truck driver, understood that it was an unsafe move but she had deliberately attempted to overtake the truck anyway.
She placed other drivers at an appreciable risk, one that materialised with the death of Mr Penberthy, County Court Judge Amanda Chambers said.
Mr Penberthy's family described the pain of losing their son and brother, saying instead of him at the Christmas table they'd had to make do with a framed photograph in his place instead.
"Every memory brings a tear. Hopefully those tears will one day be of joy instead of great sadness," his father Gordon said in a pre-sentence hearing.
Judge Chambers acknowledged too that Peers had lost her long-term partner in the crash, and that had at times been "overwhelming to bear".
Peers, who has complex post-traumatic stress disorder and was described by a psychologist as over-reliant on her assistance dog Wally, was entitled to some mercy, the judge said.
The court heard Peers had a difficult childhood, with an abusive stepfather who once pushed her out of a moving truck and who pulled a gun on her mother.
They fled the situation when she was 16. She had met Mr Penberthy while getting her assistance dog - he was an assistant trainer and became a source of support for her.
But Judge Chambers said Peers' actions warranted a prison sentence. She ordered Peers serve at least 12 months before she's eligible for parole.
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