Bay teen behind wheel of hit-and-run avoids jail
BYSTANDERS captured on video as Jessie Lee Went accelerated her car and drove into a man, in the carpark of a Pialba shopping centre.
After the victim rolled over the vehicle and fell to the ground, the 18-year-old continued to drive away.
The victim suffered external and internal injuries from the hit-and-run on June 26, and had to be taken to Hervey Bay Hospital by emergency crews.
Went was sentenced to 15 months' imprisonment in Hervey Bay Magistrates Court on Friday, but escaped serving actual jail time with immediate parole granted.
The Booral teenager pleaded guilty in court on Thursday to the dangerous operation of a motor vehicle, and for failing to remain at a scene to render assistance to an injured person.
Magistrate Stephen Guttridge ordered Went to remain in jail overnight Thursday so he could properly consider the penalty to impose on her.
The court heard that an altercation had occurred between Went and her group of friends and the victim prior to the hit-and-run.
After Went and her friends got into their car, the victim waved a branch at the group indicating he was about to strike.
That's when Went reversed the vehicle before driving forward into him.
Her defence lawyer Hamish Isles said it was a "highly pressurised situation" for Went, but Mr Guttridge would not accept that the victim's action with the branch was much of a threat.
"I do not accept the victim caused you concerns by his behaviour," Mr Guttridge said.
"I accept that he caused you some concern, but not such to warrant the action you took."
Mr Guttridge said when motor vehicles were used as weapons, a jail sentence was usually imposed.
"(The victim) was struck by the centre of the nudge bar on your vehicle, you continued to accelerate causing him to roll over the bonnet and off the side of your car," Mr Guttridge said.
"You drove off and did not render assistance, despite being urged to do so by other persons in your vehicle."
When Went was told on Thursday she would be spending the night in jail, she broke down in tears and shook uncontrollably.
During her appearance on Friday, the hospitality worker was calm and remained composed while standing in the criminal box.
Her family, including her partner, were there supporting her.
The court heard that since obtaining her driver's license in July last year, Went has committed three speeding offences and failed to give way at an intersection.
"I accept that you are remorseful for your actions now," Mr Guttridge said.
"Taken in regard to personal circumstances and submissions being made, I have decided to make your parole release date today.
"It's extremely important you do not commit any offences while on parole, and better not commit driving offences."
Went has also been disqualified from driving for 15 months.