'Despicable' ex-truckie jailed for fatal hit-run arrested, freed the day before


'Despicable' ex-truckie jailed for fatal hit-run arrested, freed the day before
  1. 'Despicable' ex-truckie jailed for fatal hit-run arrested, freed the day before
    theage.com.au
    A hit-run driver jailed for almost a decade for killing a teenager and seriously injuring another nearly hit two other people in similar circumstances the previous…
    Football

A hit-run driver jailed for almost a decade for killing a teenager and seriously injuring another nearly hit two other people in similar circumstances the previous night.

Steven Vasilevski's appalling driving and complete disregard for others over 28 hours was detailed in the County Court on Tuesday, after which judge Carolyn Douglas jailed the 35-year-old for nine years and seven months.

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Anthony Nguyen died and Jasmine Vuong was seriously injured in the collision. Anthony Nguyen died and Jasmine Vuong was seriously injured in the collision.  

It also emerged Vasilevski was arrested twice for driving offences in the hours before the fatal crash, but that police were powerless to keep him in custody despite the appearance he was drug-affected. He was released on both occasions, only to offend again.

On the night of Australia Day 2015, Vasilevski crashed into a stationary car in Deer Park and failed to stop amid a block of erratic driving, which included him twice falling asleep at the wheel and then waking to resume driving.

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Jasmine Vuong outside Melbourne Magistrates Court before an earlier hearing. Jasmine Vuong outside Melbourne Magistrates Court before an earlier hearing. Photo: Courtesy of Seven News

In Derrimut that night he just missed hitting a woman, then 19, and her brother, then nine, on a pedestrian crossing. The siblings jumped to safety.

The following night, about 11.30pm, Anthony Nguyen and Jasmine Vuong weren't so lucky.

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The friends, both then 17, were on their way home from McDonald's and on a pedestrian crossing in Delahey when Vasilevski drove into them and failed to stop.

Passers-by stopped to assist but Anthony died in hospital the following day. Ms Vuong suffered head injuries and a broken pelvis and, the court heard on Tuesday, still experiences bad headaches and pain in her body, and struggles with memory loss and difficulties controlling her emotions.

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Police at the scene of the fatal hit-run in Delahey in 2015. Police at the scene of the fatal hit-run in Delahey in 2015. 

Ms Vuong previously told the court her life had forever changed, that she had unsuccessfully tried to return to study and that her lost ambitions had left a "big empty hole in my heart".

"I didn't deserve this and neither did Anthony," she said.

Vasilevski had a history of drug abuse, Judge Douglas said, and at the time was using cannabis daily and binging on cocaine and ice on weekends.

When arrested in Derrimut on the night before the fatal crash, the court heard, he asked police if they could take him to St Kilda so he could "buy some gear".

But police were unable to test him for drugs because he refused a blood test, as is his legal right.

Police and others have previously campaigned for motorists to face tougher penalties for refusing drug tests.

Vasilevski was released without charge but then stole a forklift in Moonee Ponds. He was again arrested and released without charge.

Twenty-one hours after his second release he hit the teenagers.

Police said on Tuesday they were unsure if they could have held Vasilevski in custody even if he had tested positive to drugs.

"We can take their licence from them straight away, or suspend their licence, but that's about as far as it goes," Detective Acting Sergeant Trevor Collins said.

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