Bendigo woman Tyrian Andrews skips court over fatal Moama crash before sentencing

Arrest warrants have been issued after a Bendigo woman who pleaded guilty to killing her friend in a car crash failed to appear in court for sentencing. 

Tyrian Andrews this week faced Griffith District Court over a charge of dangerous driving causing death after a crash that claimed the life of Stephanie Pitson, also from Bendigo, in early 2016. 

The prosecution said Andrews, then on her learner permit, was driving with alcohol and an illicit drug in her system when the crash occurred just before 3am on February 13 in Moama.

Andrews was present in court on Thursday for a sentence hearing, but failed to appear the following day after the sitting judge adjourned the decision. 

She had pleaded guilty to a charge of dangerous driving causing death. A warrant was issued to bring her before the court on Friday afternoon. 

Family and friends of Ms Pitson had gathered in the Griffith courtroom over two days in hopes of hearing the final verdict. 

Ms Pitson’s sister Jenna Wheelhouse recalled the close relationship they shared in a victim impact statement read to the court. 

“I remember every single year of her life,” she said. 

“Her smile, laugh and energy was just so magnetic … my life will never be the same.” 

Taking to the stand, the defendant conceded there was nothing she could do to make up the loss the Pitson family had suffered. 

“I thought saying sorry was almost like an insult,” she said. 

Andrews described her relationship with Ms Pitson as “very close”, telling the judge the pair had met through mutual friends. 

It’s believed the crash occurred when the Renault hatchback Andrews was driving left the road, striking a tree and sliding a distance before coming to rest on the driver’s side. 

Ms Pitson reportedly died at the scene and Andrews was airlifted to Melbourne with serious injuries to her head and abdomen. 

Based on tests the next morning, a forensic pharmacologist estimated the defendant’s blood alcohol reading would have been around 0.076 at the time of the collision. 

It was submitted to the court that at that level there would be “an impairment of all major driving skills required for this driving task” and impairment would likely be “significant for a 19 year-old learner driver”.