Katunga mother Amberly Hendy spared jail over crash that killed two people and injured her daughter

A Katunga mother has avoided jail over a crash in northern Victoria that killed her sister, her sister’s boyfriend, and severely injured her daughter.

Amberly Hendy, 31, pleaded guilty in the Melbourne County Court in June to two charges of dangerous driving causing death and one charge of dangerous driving causing serious injury.

On September 6, 2019, Hendy was driving along the Goulburn Valley Highway at Wunghnu with her sister Eloise Rigby, her sister’s partner Adam Boland and her four-year-old daughter in the car.

The court heard she lost control during a hailstorm at 2.44pm and the car veered onto the other side of the road and crashed into another car.

Ms Rigby and Mr Boland were killed in the crash, and Hendy’s daughter was seriously injured and acquired a traumatic brain injury.

The court in June heard Hendy had smoked cannabis with her sister and Mr Boland the night before the crash and also smoked four bongs before she got behind the wheel of the car.

During submissions, the prosecution said the dangerous driving, in this case, was based on three elements – driving with THC in her bloodstream; driving with three passengers in wet and icy conditions on a highway; and knowingly driving a car that was an unroadworthy vehicle under those conditions.

However, in her sentencing remarks in the County Court today, Judge Elizabeth Gaynor said the prosecution conceded they could not say that Hendy was impaired by the cannabis she had ingested, only that it was simply dangerous for her to get into a car and drive in that condition.

A victim impact statement from Mr Boland’s mother Anita, which Judge Gaynor described as generous and moving, said she truly believed Amberly would be feeling punished every day with the loss of her sister, her “mate” Adam, and the harm she had caused to her daughter.

“The weather was hideous that day and I live with guilt and wonder how things might have been different if I suggested they delay their trip,” the statement read.

In her remarks, Judge Gaynor said the effects on Hendy’s daughter following the accident remained serious and constant, with reports from professionals indicating she has developed a separate anxiety disorder and post-traumatic stress, and that there would be a high risk her daughter would deteriorate if Hendy was imprisoned.

In sentencing, Judge Gaynor said this was a rare case and a jail sentence was not necessary due to the impact it would have on Hendy’s daughter.

Hendy was sentenced to a four-year community corrections order and 400 hours’ unpaid community work.

The order contained conditions for Hendy to undergo treatment for mental health and drug use.

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