A VICTORIAN man took his eyes off the road in a single moment of inattention that killed his mother and isolated him from his family.
Edward Robinson, 63, avoided jail last Thursday but was convicted of dangerous driving causing the death of 84-year-old Marie Robinson.
She suffered fatal injuries when his car slammed into trees on the side of the Murray Valley Highway near Kyabram.
Robinson had long lived with his mother in Wodonga and became her full-time carer when her health deteriorated.
One week a year his sister in Wentworth would take on caring responsibilities so he could attend an annual convention for orchid enthusiasts.
He was driving Mrs Robinson to her daughter’s Wentworth home when the crash happened.
They’d stopped at Nathalia, east of Echuca, for lunch then set out along the highway towards Kyabram.
Robinson looked across to check that his mother was all right and as he looked back to the road realised he crossed to the wrong side.
He overcorrected and careened into the trees. Mrs Robinson suffered fatal injuries and died on the way to hospital.
‘‘This was an example of momentary inattention which had catastrophic consequences,’’ County Court Judge Gerard Mullaly said on Thursday.
‘‘You panicked, it seemed to me, and overcorrected.’’
Mrs Robinson’s death was a great loss felt deeply by her daughter and granddaughter, who both made statements, he said.
Her granddaughter was recently married and had planned for Mrs Robinson to walk her down the aisle.
‘‘That’s no small matter,’’ Justice Mullaly said.
Robinson had felt harshly judged by his siblings and abandoned by his family after the crash and had received intense treatment from a psychologist because of his grief, including intense flashbacks.
The psychologist said Robinson had felt ‘‘unrelenting yearning for his mother’’, whom he described as his best friend.
He was convicted and placed on a two-year community corrections order, which includes supervision and a requirement that he be assessed for, and participate in, mental health programs.