Jail for panicked driver who crossed lanes, killed pedestrian

Jail for panicked driver who crossed lanes, killed pedestrian

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Sitting at a busy Melbourne intersection, Tony Page noticed the passenger side mirror he had pushed in a few days earlier was still facing the wrong direction.

He decided then and there was a good time to fix it, but what followed was a series of mistakes that led to the death of 75-year-old pedestrian Alan Williams on April 10, 2022.

Page, 70, told police he knew the traffic lights at the Hoddle Street intersection in Collingwood would take a while to change, so he put down the window and leaned across to fix the mirror.

His car jolted forward and moved into the intersection.

Page panicked and accelerated twice when he thought he was trying to brake.

He crossed nine lanes of traffic and over a concrete median strip, but he and other drivers avoided hitting other vehicles.

But Williams didn’t see Page’s car coming. He had waited until the pedestrian light turned green and looked over his shoulder to check if cars were turning into the street he was crossing.

Williams was struck by the front of Page’s car and was thrown 16 metres.

He suffered a number of fractures and died at the scene.

County Court Judge Rosemary Carlin said the chain of events that day would have been hard to believe had they not happened.

There was no urgency in Page adjusting his mirror, and even if he thought there was, he could have pulled over once he went through the intersection, Carlin said on Friday.

“You chose that moment to do it, purely because of convenience,” she said.

“Whilst what you did was inherently dangerous, it was at least, and somewhat ironically, motivated by a safety concern in that you were attempting to ensure you had good rear vision.”

Williams was a retired businessman who served as a director of the Alfred Foundation and chairman of Foodbank Victoria.

He was dedicated to supporting his wife and children through health battles.

His daughter said footage from before the crash showed him in a jolly mood, clearly enjoying exploring the area he had recently moved to.

“People loved him so much because he was smart, kind and interested in others,” she said.

Page’s life had also changed since the crash, the judge said.

After starting the first gay liberation committee at Melbourne University, Page worked as a journalist and teacher in Australia, Portugal, Malaysia, Thailand and Cambodia, and was the head of performing arts at an international school in Bangkok.

When he retired in 2007, he became a teacher for disadvantaged tribes in Thailand before returning to Australia.

Carlin said Page had been diagnosed with clinically significant post-traumatic stress disorder.

She sentenced him to 14 months behind bars for dangerous driving causing death and disqualified him from driving for 18 months.

Page must serve seven months before he is eligible for parole.


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