THE widow of a legally blind man who died in a Wedderburn collision says she will never forgive the driver who killed her husband.
Sixty-two-year-old Raymond Meadows was walking along the Calder Highway with his guide dog Gerry on June 2, 2019, when Billy-Jo Salter crashed into the pair.
Mr Meadows was critically injured and died as he was airlifted to hospital. Gerry was killed almost instantly.
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Mr Meadows' widow Val read out a statement to the County Court on Thursday after Salter pleaded guilty to charges of dangerous driving causing death and destruction of evidence.
Mrs Meadows said she wanted Salter to understand the pain he had caused.
"I miss (Raymond's) chats, his cuddles, and the way he tells me that he loves me," she told the court. "This was not the way it was meant to be.
"The emptiness in my heart will stay forever. I will never forgive you (Salter) for what you have done."
The court heard about 6.30am on June 2, Salter was driving a Toyota Corolla along the Calder Highway towards Inglewood after spending the night at a friend's place.
At that time, Mr Meadows - who was wearing a high vis vest and a backpack with flashing lights - was starting his morning walk with Gerry.
As Salter drove south-east along Calder, he struck Mr Meadows and Gerry near the intersection with the Wedderburn Junction Road.
The court heard Salter stopped his car nearby, got out, and waved down a passing vehicle for help. He told witnesses, "I think I've killed someone".
Mrs Meadows heard the sounds of the collision and attended the scene, which was only a short distance away from her house. Police and paramedics also arrived.
Mr Meadows was critically injured in the crash and airlifted to hospital but he died in transit. Gerry died almost instantly.
Salter underwent a preliminary breath test and an oral fluid test, which both returned negative results.
The 23-year-old told police Mr Meadows had appeared in the middle of the road in front of his car and he could not avoid a collision.
But the court heard scene reconstruction experts were able to confirm that Mr Meadows and Gerry were not in the middle of the road. The pair were instead walking on the bitumen shoulder of the highway.
Investigators were able to retrieve data from the Toyota's airbag control module, which showed the last five seconds prior to the crash.
They were able to determine that Salter was using cruise control and travelling at a constant speed of 94km/h.
Salter did not brake or move the steering wheel in the final five seconds before the collision.
Investigators concluded that as a result, Salter would have naturally drifted to the left and struck Mr Meadows and Gerry.
The court heard there was a dash cam device installed in the Toyota at the time of the collision. Salter took the SD card out of the camera and told his friend to destroy the evidence.
Mr Meadows' daughter Kristen Evans also read out a victim impact statement to the court on Thursday.
She said her father had been her hero and there were no words to describe the pain and anguish she felt at his death.
Ms Evans said she felt bad that it took Salter so long to "do the right thing" and plead guilty. She said the 23-year-old had caused more harm to her family through his lies and lack of remorse.
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Defence counsel David Gibson said it was conceded that Salter's actions had been distressing for Mr Meadows' family.
Mr Gibson said a psychologist determined Salter, who was diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder and ADHD, struggled with reasoning so he was likely to behave in ways that were irrational and confusing to others.
The defence counsel submitted that remorse was not something Salter could understand due to his limitations.
Mr Gibson said while there was not a causal link between Salter's conditions and the offending, his disabilities would make prison more burdensome.
But the defence counsel said Salter knew and accepted that he would be sentenced to a significant jail term.
Mr Gibson said Salter could not explain what happened in the final few seconds before the crash, although there was a theory that he was distracted while fiddling with the radio.
Judge Rosemary Carlin said she would not make a judgement on whether or not Salter was driving inappropriately before the crash because there was simply no evidence.
But Judge Carlin noted that in any event, Salter's driving and behaviour after the crash was distressing to those who knew and loved Mr Meadows.
The judge adjourned the case for a sentencing hearing next month.
Judge Carlin extended Salter's bail to the County Court date but said the 23-year-old would be jailed at the next hearing.
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