A garbage truck driver has been handed a community corrections order for a “momentary” lapse in attention which led to him hitting and killing an elderly woman in Western Sydney.
- The court heard Sultana could have seen Ms Zhang for a few seconds while the truck was in reverse
- Sultana had only started the garbage truck driving job a few weeks earlier
- His corrections order involves 200 hours of community service
Christopher Shane Raymond Sultana has been convicted of one count of negligent driving causing death, telling the District Court in Sydney he would carry the tragedy with him for the rest of his life.
A judge only trial held in the same court earlier this month found Sultana not guilty of another charge of dangerous driving causing death.
A sentencing hearing today heard Sultana was doing a legal three point turn on Woodland Road in Chester Hill on February 23, 2021, when he hit Ruiming Zhang, 83, a few seconds after she stepped out onto the road.
CCTV showing the moment Sultana’s truck hit Ms Zhang was shown during the trial.
Ms Zhang’s daughter Cynthia Tang, read a victim impact statement to the court in her native language of Mandarin, before her daughter, the victim’s granddaughter Kelly Guo, translated it into English.
“Every morning at 8am, my mother would go for a walk after breakfast,” Ms. Tang told the court.
“No one could have ever expected that at 8:30 that morning would be the end of my mother’s life.”
She said despite being in contact with the police that afternoon, she only discovered through media coverage exactly what had happened to her mother.
Ms Tang told the court her mother had only just stepped onto the road when she was hit.
“Can you understand the pain and sorrow I feel? How innocent she was crossing the street as usual?” she got
“Why couldn’t you have been a little more careful?”
In sentencing, Judge Sophia Beckett told the court Sultana’s three point turn was legal, but there were a few seconds while the truck was in reverse where he could have seen Ms Zhang.
“His failure was a failure to notice that she was walking towards the intersection at the relevant time … and that he ought to be on a lookout for her movements,” she said.
“There is little doubt that the offender had available to him the view from the rear camera, and to some degree the view in the right hand mirror at that critical time.”
But Judge Beckett found Ms Zhang had moved to his blind spot when he struck her.
“There was an inattention which was critical, but momentary,” she said.
“These cases are the most difficult of cases.”
Sultana had been a heavy vehicle truck driver for more than six years, but had only started the garbage truck driving job a few weeks earlier.
He gave a statement to the court, saying he was “deeply sorry”.
“I can understand their anger towards me as I would feel the same way,” he told the court.
“Regardless of the outcome on my final court day, this is something I will carry with me for the rest of my life.
“I’ve wished over and over I could restart that day again.”
The court heard Sultana had struggled with his mental health since the incident and was seeking counselling.
A conviction had been recorded and he must perform 200 hours of community service as part of his corrections order.
He must also undertake a traffic offenders program as part of his sentencing.