Jessica Williams thought the “bump” she felt when reversing out of a Woodberry driveway in March was just a change in the road’s surface.
But then she heard children screaming.
The “bump” was in fact a two-year-old child, who she had run over while reversing a Holden Commodore station wagon.
Williams, of Woodberry, was placed on a three-year community corrections order in Maitland Local Court on Thursday after she pleaded guilty to negligent driving occasioning grievous bodily harm and altering the amount of illicit drug in her blood in relation to the incident in Segenhoe Street on March 10.
She was placed on the order, the equivalent of the former good-behaviour bond, under the conditions she undergo supervision and not take any illicit drugs.
The 23-year-old was also disqualified from driving for two years and fined $1000.
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The guilty plea came after the prosecution withdrew the more serious charge of dangerous driving occasioning grievous bodily harm and an offence of not reverse vehicle safely.
Williams had driven to the address to pick up her son about 6.30pm on March 10 when she stopped the car in the driveway. A number of children aged between two and eight were playing in the front yard of the home unsupervised, according to a police statement of facts.
After collecting her son and getting back into the car, Williams began reversing. The accident was partially captured on a neighbour’s CCTV system.
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Williams told police she felt the “bump”, followed by children’s screams. She looked out the driver’s window and saw the victim laying face down with half his body under the car, between the front and rear wheels.
As she got out she saw tyre marks across the child’s right shoulder and realised she had run him over.
She screamed to the residents and called an ambulance, which took the boy to John Hunter Hospital in a critical condition. The toddler underwent surgery for internal injuries and after several weeks in hospital he was released on April 4.
Police attended Williams’ home, where she admitted to smoking cannabis after the incident to calm herself down as she suffers social anxiety. She was arrested and taken to Maitland Hospital for blood and urine testing, which returned a positive result for cannabis, methamphetamine and Benzodiazepine.
When police later asked her about the other drugs, Williams said she consumed an unprescribed 20mg Valium tablet the day before and had “passively ingested” methamphetamine smoke over a three-day period at a friend’s house.