Father's crash forces early labour

A BABY delivered 10 weeks early required emergency surgery after a crash caused by her father who was reaching for a cigarette, a court has heard.

Martin Willsman, 25, pleaded guilty in Bendigo Magistrates Court on Wednesday on one count each of reckless conduct endangering serious injury and driving a vehicle that did not comply with standards following an incident on October 13 last year.

Willsman, an unemployed former bakery apprentice from Golden Square, was driving at 100km/h in a 60km/h zone along Weeroona Avenue in White Hills when he lost control of the car carrying his pregnant ex-partner.

The man was reaching for a cigarette at the time he lost control of the car.

The car travelled 72.8 metres before mounting a nature strip and colliding with a bus stop sign and hitting a tree, the court heard.

The woman, with whom Willsman separated from a month earlier, was 30 weeks pregnant with his child at the time.

She suffered a fractured sternum and went into forced labour before being taken to a Melbourne hospital, where the infant underwent surgery for a hole in its bowel.

The baby and the mother have since made a full recovery.

Willsman suffered a broken nose and sternum. 

Willsman's defence lawyer Luke Docherty said the P-plater and his ex-partner had ended their relationship about a month prior to the incident, and were arguing at the time of the crash.

He said Willsman was frustrated and that had contributed to why he was driving in such a manner.

However, Magistrate David Faram said Willsman's prior convictions, including careless driving, suggested this type of offending was bound to happen.

"They suggest he doesn't have a regard for the law, his licence, or other road users," Magistrate Faram said.

The matter was adjourned until September for the defence to obtain pre-sentencing reports.


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