A 92-year-old woman who mistook the accelerator pedal for the brake apologized to the family of the schoolboy she fatally ran over.
Calvin Wijeweera, 17, was hit and killed by Joan Ellen Smith’s gray sedan after he mounted the curb in Carlingford, North West. Sydneyon December 1, 2022.
At Sydney’s Burwood Court on Monday, Smith pleaded guilty to careless driving (causing death) as the boy’s tearful parents, Sandun and Anoma Wijeweera, looked on.
Calvin Wijeweera, 17, was hit and killed by Joan Ellen Smith’s car on December 1, 2022.
‘I live with this every day and I will never forget it. There is nothing more I can say,’ reported the Daily Telegraph.
Calvin, who attended Carlingford High School, was walking along Rembrandt St with four friends on their way to Carlingford Court shopping center at around 11.15am when Smith’s car hit them.
The impact catapulted Calvin into a mobile mechanic’s Toyota HiAce, which was parked in a driveway.
Despite the best efforts of the emergency services, he died at the scene, while another 17-year-old friend suffered a head injury.
Smith, a mother of two and grandmother of five, was supported in court by a daughter and grandson.
His attorney John Galluzzo said the fatal crash was a “momentary lapse and mistake.”
The court was told Smith was driving from the Carlingford Court shopping center and turning onto Rembrandt St when the accident occurred.
Although he initially believed it may have been a mechanical failure that caused him to collide with the children, he later accepted that police discovered he had pressed the accelerator pedal instead of the brake.
Sentencing Smith to a 12-month community corrections order (good behavior bail), Magistrate Christopher Halburd said SMith had one of “one of the best driving records I’ve ever seen.”
A daughter helps Smith (centre in photo) arrive at Sydney’s Burwood Court for the hearing.
“Until today she has been a very careful driver, an exemplary driver,” he said.
Smith had been driving with an unrestricted license since 1966 and had only received a traffic violation in 2008 for driving in a T-way lane.
His Mitsubishi Lancer was regularly inspected and he underwent regular medical examinations which determined he was fit to continue driving.
After the accident she He immediately surrendered his license and the court was told that He plans to never drive again.
Magistrate Halburd said the case was exceptionally sad but in the circumstances it would be inappropriate to sentence Smith to prison.
Smith’s gray sedan mounted the curb in Carlingford and struck the three schoolchildren, pinning Calvin against a parked van.
The 17-year-old wanted to be an aeronautical engineer (pictured, from right to left: Calvin, his mother Anoma, his father Sandun and his sister Ovindi).
However, the sentence had to reflect the fact that “a child has died, something his family has to live with for the rest of his life, and he has been deprived of the opportunity to live his life.”
Wijeweera said she was inconsolable.
‘I don’t have words to say what I feel. I have two kids. I’ve lost my son,” she told 10 News.
However, both parents said they could forgive Smith, but thought the law needed to be changed to prevent elderly people from driving.
“She said, ‘I’m so sorry,'” Mrs. Smith said through tears.
“I understand because I know she doesn’t plan to do this.”