Hit-and-run driver escapes jail
A FEMALE driver, who left a 13-year-old Melbourne girl with horror head injuries, has escaped jail time.
Thi Nguyen, 42, pleaded guilty to failing to stop and render assistance after she hit the teenager with her BMW.
Nguyen took four days to hand herself into police after the November crash and was today sentenced to 150 hours of community services as part of her corrections order.
"You left (the girl) for dead. You ought to have known she was seriously injured in the collision," County Court Judge Gabriele Cannon told Nguyen during sentencing today.
On the day of the crash, Nguyen was driving a black BMW along Bell Street in the Melbourne suburb of Coburg when the child was riding her bicycle towards traffic, weaving between lanes.
The judge told Nguyen there was "nothing wrong with your driving" in the lead up to the November 5 collision which left the victim in hospital with serious head injuries.
Nguyen's car and the girl's bike collided with the girl "thrown into the air before she landed on the road".
She was placed in an induced coma with life-threatening injuries and was also left with a fractured rib.
Later speaking to police, Nguyen said she "was frightened".
"Suddenly I heard a bang and I didn't know what was going on and the windscreen was shattered," Nguyen said.
"At the accident I went a bit further and there was an off-street and I pulled over there.
"I was thinking of stopping on Bell Street but there were cars travelling so I couldn't stop. I was frightened."
Judge Cannon said the girl had been seen "driving her bike erratically" and it was "only a matter of time before she was hit by a car".
Nguyen was also disqualified from driving for four years.