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by Matt de Neef
November 21, 2019
The driver who hit and killed pro cyclist Jason Lowndes in December 2017 has avoided jail time.
Billie Rodda, now 22, was today sentenced to a three-year community corrections order and 200 hours of unpaid community work. She was also given a $2,000 fine for using her mobile phone while driving. Her driver’s license has been disqualified for three years.
Last month Rodda pleaded guilty to dangerous driving causing death and to using a mobile phone while driving. Those pleas came after the judge in the case indicated a prison sentence wouldn’t be necessary.
Earlier in proceedings Rodda had pleaded not guilty to both charges.
In sentencing Rodda in Bendigo’s County Court today, Judge Wendy Wilmoth said Rodda’s moral culpability was at the lowest end of the scale. Both the prosecution and defence accepted that Rodda had not been using her phone in the moments leading up to the crash that took Lowndes’ life. The defence argued that Rodda had been looking at her speedometer just before the crash.
Earlier in the trial Rodda was accused of sending seven text messages and receiving 10 in a conversation with her boyfriend while driving on the morning of Lowndes’ death. She reportedly struck Lowndes 68 seconds after unsuccessfully trying to send a further message.
Lowndes was out training on the morning of December 22, 2017 when he was hit and killed. He had raced with Drapac Professional Cycling in 2016 before joining the Israel Cycling Academy in 2017. He was set to join JLT-Condor for the 2018 season.