Melbourne truck driver jailed for killing Indian student in Dandenong

A speeding and alcohol-affected Melbourne truck driver has been jailed for six years for hitting and killing a young man as he was about to get into his car.

Delivery driver Kerasoma Fetalaiga, 34, pleaded guilty to culpable driving causing the death of 19-year-old Indian international student Vishal Mahant in Dandenong in April 2017.

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Fetalaiga, from Pakenham, was tailgating a semi-trailer and attempting to overtake it on the Frankston Dandenong Road when he moved from the centre lane into the left lane, the County Court heard.

Mr Mahant was standing next to the driver’s side of his car, parked in front of his work, and was about to get in when he was hit by Fetalaiga’s tray truck and thrown 29 metres.

Fetalaiga stopped at the scene as paramedics tried unsuccessfully to revive Mr Mahant.

Police found five empty bourbon and cola cans and a sixth open can in Fetalaiga’s cabin and crash experts predicted his speed was 83km/h in a 60km/h zone before the crash.

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The father of four had a blood alcohol reading of .076 at the time, despite truck drivers requiring a zero reading.

“You knew you should not be driving with alcohol in your system and that’s a concerning feature of your offending,” Judge Michael O’Connell said during sentencing on Wednesday.

Mr Mahant’s parents, who watched the sentencing live via video link from India, were devastated.

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‘A young man who was loved and cherished has lost his life’

“A young man who was loved and cherished has lost his life as a result of your culpable driving,” Judge O’Connell said.

The judge took into account Fetalaiga’s guilty plea, remorse, lack of priors and good work history.

“It was clear you were genuinely shocked at what you had done at the scene,” he said.

Fetalaiga will serve a minimum of three years and three months.

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