A driver had already been pulled over with drugs in her system twice before she crashed into a pedestrian while rummaging around her car to look for her phone, sending the man flying into the air.
Police heard a 62-year-old man had been hit by a car at a pedestrian crossing on Kingsland Parade, near Casey Market Town, around 11 am on 9 March 2023, court documents say.
They arrived to find him being treated by paramedics and spoke to the car’s driver, Jacinda Marie McKay.
Witnesses said the force of the impact had thrown the man about three metres.
“One witness stated that he observed the defendant holding a phone in her left hand before the collision,” the documents say.
“Another witness stated that he observed the defendant looking down at her lap immediately before the collision. This witness believes the defendant was looking at a phone.”
When the 39-year-old McKay faced the ACT Magistrates Court on Monday (5 February), her lawyer, Ketinia McGowan from Legal Aid, said at the time of the crash, she had been reaching for her phone as it had fallen at her feet.
The court also heard she had tested positive for drug driving three times, on 27 February, 6 March and 9 March 2023 – the latter being the same day as the crash.
The pedestrian suffered significant bruising, a tingling feeling in his foot and pain down his leg, but paramedics cleared him of any serious injuries.
Ms McGowan said McKay had been exposed to alcohol use as a child and drug use as a young teenager. She also had multiple diagnoses of mental health conditions.
“She’s an adult now and she can make decisions for herself,” Magistrate Alexandra Burt said.
“It’s her responsibility to drive in a manner that’s safe to members of the community.”
The magistrate said she was “troubled” by the number of offences occurring within about two weeks.
She also noted McKay had only had her drivers licence for a short period of time, remarking, “It’s not a good start”.
McKay pleaded guilty to negligent driving causing actual bodily harm and three counts of drug driving.
The Ngunnawal resident was convicted, fined $2800, disqualified from driving for 15 months and sentenced to a two-year good behaviour order on the condition that she engage in rehabilitation programs for substance use.