Two lives altered in a matter of moments

A SIMPLE yet tragic accident has left a 78-year-old woman with serious life-changing injuries and a 28-year-old man dealing with the legal consequences at Lismore Local Court.

Mechanic, Ari Johl Leonard, of Coraki, was reversing a Nissan Patrol ute out of a Lismore Tyre and Service Centre and onto the road last November when the elderly woman walked directly behind the vehicle.

The woman was knocked down and run over by the ute and trapped underneath.

Ambulance and police officers were called to the scene and took over an hour to free the woman.

She was taken to Lismore Base Hospital where she received treatment for a fractured arm and legs, deep cuts to her left leg and internal injuries.

Leonard pleaded guilty to charges of negligent driving occasioning grievous bodily harm.

Defence solicitor Ralph James said the degree of negligence displayed by Leonard was at the lower end of the scale.

“It was not the degree of negligence that has brought this matter before court, rather the level of injuries sustained,” Mr James told the court.

“He checked his mirrors on two occasions before reversing the vehicle and was only travelling at about two kilometres per hour which is supported by a witness who said the vehicle was travelling slowly.

“The victim was walking on the driveway and has walked behind the vehicle when it reversed.”

Mr James said the woman told medical staff at the hospital that she did not see the vehicle reversing.

“The crucial couple of seconds were between when he looked at the mirrors and the time she moved behind the vehicle and into the blind spot,” he said.

“There was no alcohol or drugs involved and even no inattention.”

In sentencing Leonard, Magistrate Nick Reimer said Leonard had a restricted view of the driveway because of a large container fixed to the tray of vehicle.

“It was a tragic accident,” he said.

Mr Reimer did not convict Leonard of the charges, instead putting him on an 18-month good behaviour bond.

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