A P-PLATE driver who used her mobile phone behind the wheel 44 times before running down a cyclist near Koroit has been fined $4500 and lost her licence for nine months.
Kimberley Davis, 21, of Grant Street, Port Fairy, yesterday pleaded guilty in the Warrnambool Magistrates Court to dangerous driving.
She was originally charged with 47 offences covering each time she had used her phone.
The cyclist suffered a spinal fracture which required surgery and placement in a spinal cage at Melbourne’s Austin Hospital. He was originally told he could be left a paraplegic and spent three months recovering.
He also suffered a broken big toe and lacerations to his head and body.
The court heard that the victim couldn’t believe that Davis rang triple-0 after the accident but refused to offer him help after she parked 100 metres up the road.
Even more stunning was Davis’ answers when interviewed by police two days after the accident and asked about using her phone.
“I just don’t care because I’ve already been through a lot of bullshit and my car is like pretty expensive and now I have to fix it,” she told a police officer.
“I’m kind of pissed off that the cyclist has hit the side of my car. I don’t agree that people texting and driving could hit a cyclist. I wasn’t on my phone when I hit the cyclist.”
Davis had driven from a supermarket in east Warrnambool to just west of Koroit when she hit the cyclist at 7.20pm on September 20 last year on the Penshurst-Warrnambool Road.
The cyclist was on the edge of the road heading west when Davis hit him from behind, despite there being lights on the back and front of his bike.
Records showed Davis used her phone 44 times in her drive from east Warrnambool to Koroit, sending and receiving 22 text messages to seven different phones.
At 7.18pm she received a text message and 51 seconds later made the call to triple-0 after hitting the rider.
Magistrate John Lesser said there were issues surrounding the case of great community significance, especially drivers using mobile telephones.
He noted that Davis’ comments were poorly put when she was interviewed by police.
Mr Lesser noted that yesterday a Terang family business was fined $17,500 with more than $3000 costs after a workplace accident and the injuries caused were not as significant as those suffered by the rider.
The wife of the bike rider was in court for the hearing yesterday and was deeply disappointed Davis did not lose her licence for longer.