Panicked driver crossed nine lanes, killed pedestrian

·2-min read
Jono Searle/AAP PHOTOS

Sitting at a busy Melbourne intersection, Tony Page noticed the passenger side mirror he had pushed in a few days earlier was still facing the wrong direction.

He decided then and there was a good time to fix it but what followed was a series of mistakes that led to the death of 75-year-old pedestrian Alan Williams on April 10, 2022.

Page was jailed on Friday for at least seven months.

Page, now 70, told police he knew the traffic lights at the Hoddle Street intersection in Collingwood would take a while to change so he put down the window and leaned across to fix the mirror.

His car jolted forward and moved into the intersection.

Page panicked and accelerated twice when he thought he was trying to brake.

He crossed nine lanes of traffic and over a concrete median strip.

Through evasive driving by Page and other drivers, he didn't strike any other cars.

Mr Williams waited until the pedestrian light turned green and looked over his shoulder to check if cars were turning into the street he was crossing.

He didn't see Page's car coming.

Mr Williams was struck by the bonnet and the windscreen and was thrown more than 16m.

He suffered a number of fractures and died at the scene.

The events would be hard to believe had they not happened, County Court Judge Rosemary Carlin said on Friday.

There was no urgency in Page adjusting his mirror, and even if he thought there was he could have pulled over once he went through the intersection, she said.

"You chose that moment to do it purely because of convenience."

"Whilst what you did was inherently dangerous it was at least, and somewhat ironically, motivated by a safety concern in that you were attempting to ensure you had good rear vision."

Mr Williams was a retired businessman who served as a director of the Alfred Foundation and chairman of Foodbank Victoria.

He was dedicated to supporting his wife and children through health battles.

His daughter said footage from before the crash showed him in a jolly mood, clearly enjoying exploring the area he had recently moved to.

"People loved him so much because he was smart, kind and interested in others," she said.

Page's life had also changed since the crash, Judge Carlin said.

After starting the first gay liberation committee at Melbourne University, Page worked as a journalist and teacher in Australia, Portugal, Malaysia, Thailand and Cambodia and headed a performing arts at an international school in Bangkok.

When he retired in 2007, he became a teacher for disadvantaged hill tribes in Thailand before later returning to Australia.

Judge Carlin said he had been diagnosed with clinically significant post-traumatic stress disorder.

She sentenced him to 14 months behind bars for dangerous driving causing death and disqualified him from driving for 18 months.