A MAN who ran over and killed his best friend before driving off after an argument has been jailed for a minimum of two years.
Daniel Carletti, 33, of Diggers Rest, was found not guilty by a Supreme Court jury in June of culpable driving causing death but guilty of dangerous driving causing death, failing to stop after a fatal collision and failing to render assistance after a fatal collision.
Gavin Dunne, 44, died after being hit by a ute being driven on the wrong side of the road by Carletti.
The two men had been arguing in a car park near the Marong Hotel on the Calder Alternate Highway west of Bendigo about 1am on New Year’s Day, 2011.
Justice Stephen Kaye said Carletti had earlier been affected by alcohol and making a nuisance of himself at the pub while Mr Dunne had been behaving in ‘‘a normal, calm and quiet manner’’.
As Mr Dunne walked away from Carletti after some pushing and shoving between the pair, Carletti got into the ute, revved the engine loudly, and took off at high speed before crashing into Mr Dunne.
Justice Kaye said the jury found Carletti had not deliberately run over his friend but had clearly been in an angry frame of mind when he drove off and knew Mr Dunne was close by.
‘‘You did not brake, or react, at all in response to the collision,’’ the judge told Carletti.
‘‘Rather, you increased your rate of acceleration, and sped off from the scene.’’
Mr Dunne was taken to hospital with serious head injuries but died later that morning.
Carletti drove for more than seven kilometres after the accident before trying to hide his car and then fell asleep under a tree. He was found by a police tracker dog and during a scuffle suffered a number of bite marks to his ankle.
Carletti later told police he had no memory of the crash.
‘‘I am satisfied, beyond reasonable doubt, as no doubt was the jury, that you well knew that a serious accident had just occurred,’’ the judge said.
‘‘The windscreen of your vehicle had been broken in the collision, and thus you knew that the force of the impact was sufficient to have caused such damage. Not only did you not stop, but you accelerated away at a fast speed. Even allowing for an element of panic, that does not account for the fact that you kept driving for seven kilometres, and then took deliberate steps to conceal your vehicle and yourself from the roadway.
‘‘In doing so, you thought only of yourself.
‘‘You did not stop at, or return to, the point of the collision, to attend to Gavin Dunne’s welfare, notwithstanding that you must have known that he had been seriously injured as a result of the collision.
‘‘Rather, you chose to leave him, injured and helpless on the road, in order to escape the consequences of your dangerous driving.
‘‘Your conduct in failing to stay at, or return to, the scene of the collision, and attend to Gavin, was callous, selfish and utterly shameful.’’
Justice Kaye said it was clear Mr Dunne, a father of four, was a likeable larrikin with a great sense of humour and a big heart who had been a loving, and very much loved, member of his family.
‘‘His death, and the circumstances attaching to it, were understandably severely traumatic for each of his family members,’’ the judge said.
He said Carletti had expressed and distress over the death of his friend but had shown no remorse for the role he had played in causing his death or for deserting him.
Carletti was jailed for three years and two months with a non-parole period of two years.