Drug-driver jailed for 11 years over fatal hit-runNovember 24, 2021
A drug-affected motorist who killed a scooter rider and didn’t stop during 45 minutes of speeding and erratic driving through Melbourne and the northern suburbs has been jailed for more than a decade.
As much of Melbourne prepared to watch the AFL grand final on television on October 24 last year, Ayse Leila Laz stole a Honda Civic from outside a mobile hairdresser’s Broadmeadows home and sped to the city and back. At one point she drove at 140km/h in a 70km/h zone, and she ran 17 red lights between 6.35pm and 7.20pm.
One of the intersections she sped through was at La Trobe and King streets, near the Flagstaff Gardens, where she crashed into Khai Shien Chow, a food delivery rider. Mr Chow, 36, suffered catastrophic injuries when hit at 52km/h and died in hospital.
A 64-year-old man who was crossing the road nearby was also hit and suffered arm and leg injuries.
Laz did not stop and remained on a phone call to a friend, while another woman sat in the passenger seat.
The County Court heard Laz drove 70 kilometres – often erratically and at speed, and occasionally on the wrong side of the road or on tram tracks – from when she stole the car to when a police vehicle rammed and stopped the Honda in Jacana. Police followed her at times, while a police helicopter monitored from above.
The 21-year-old cried on Wednesday when jailed for 11½ years after pleading guilty to culpable driving causing death, negligently causing serious injury, failing to stop and render assistance, and other charges. Judge Claire Quin ordered she serve 6½ years before she is eligible for parole.
“Nobody benefits from this kind of offending,” Judge Quin told her.
“You will spend the remainder of your young adult years in custody and a family has lost their son, all as a consequence of your drug ingestion and dangerous driving that followed, which … was irresponsible and self-indulgent.”
Laz was found with ice and amphetamines in her system, having stayed awake the previous night using drugs with two companions. Her learner’s permit was suspended at the time and she was on bail for driving, drugs and assault charges.
Mr Chow was a student in Melbourne and hoped to return to his family in Malaysia. The COVID-19 lockdown meant his family never got the chance to see his body.
His sister, Khai Sing Chow, said in a victim impact statement: “I feel disgusted by the actions of the offender because I can’t understand how such gangsterism on an innocent bystander happened.”
Judge Quin said Laz displayed a disregard for others and her refusal to stop after hitting the men was callous. Laz’s life had derailed, Judge Quin said, as she used drugs for a year to cope with the break-up of her family. Her father was violent and when he died from illness, her mother abandoned her and six younger siblings.
Judge Quin said Laz quickly became entrenched in drug use and criminal offending, but she acknowledged her remorse for her crimes. Laz, who has served almost 400 days, was also disqualified from obtaining a licence for seven years.
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