Garbage truck driver Teremoana Tekii arrives at Manly court this morning. Picture: John Grainger
Garbage truck driver Teremoana Tekii arrives at Manly court this morning. Picture: John Grainger

Fatal crash driver 'just hoping for best'

The garbage truck driver who hit and killed a Sydney grandmother was "just hoping for the best" when he reversed around a blind spot and struck the pram-pushing pedestrian, a Sydney judge has been told.

Teremoana "Tere" Tekii, 29, told police on the day of the fatal crash in February 2018 that 58-year-old Hane Mathieson was "nowhere to be seen" around a tight corner on a Dee Why service road.

Crown prosecutor Roger Kimbell said the dangerous driving occasioning death charge to which Tekii had pleaded not guilty had been proven, in part through Tekii's utterance to police he reversed up the street "just hoping there's nothing there".

"Knowing that area and that other people were using it, by using the word hoping, he was just hoping for the best," Mr Kimbell said in closing submissions on Tuesday.

"That's not what a driver of a heavy vehicle should be doing when reversing down a narrow laneway."

He said there was no dispute the truck was reversing at 11.9 km/h when it hit Ms Mathieson and pinned her under the rear middle left-hand wheel.

Despite Tekii moving the truck off her seconds later, the woman suffered extensive leg and arm injuries and died at the scene.

Her grandson was found unharmed in his pram in a nearby driveway.

At least of one of the two bin loaders in Tekii's vehicle could have got out and directed him up the street safely, Mr Kimbell said.

"If he'd gone less than 11.9 km/h, if he'd gone at walking speed, it would have been safe for the loader. It would have been safe for the public," he told NSW District Court Judge John North.

But in her closing address, Tekii's barrister pointed to evidence Ms Mathieson had an eye condition affecting the centre of her vision and read using her peripheral vision.

With "no axe to grind", a woman came forward after the crash to say she'd seen the grandmother around Dee Why hitting the pram into steps and requiring assistance to overcome obstacles, barrister Corrie Goodhand said.

Ms Goodhand contested Mr Kimbell's assertion that eyewitness Lynette Holten was "impressive" and pointed to several uncertainties including whether a horn was sounded, the truck speed and how much of the crash she saw.

The court heard opposing evidence which placed Ms Holten both on the nature strip metres from the crash site and also standing near her house, several metres back from the street.

When a loader ran into her front yard to vomit after seeing Ms Mathieson under the truck, Ms Holten asked if everything was okay, Ms Goodhand said.

"That tends to suggest she didn't see the accident, which she ultimately accepts. She didn't see the impact," the barrister told Judge North.

Tekii told police the day of the incident he had beeped his rear horn and "lived his life out of" his mirrors and rear camera.

He'd not seen Ms Mathieson, a statement echoed by the two bin loaders who told the court they too saw nothing while looking in the passenger-side mirror and rear camera display.

The trial continues.

Originally published as Fatal crash driver 'just hoping for best'


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