– A coroner investigating the deaths of several toddlers run over in driveways – including one who was hit by a neighbour who had smoked cannabis – said no one was to blame.
Coroner John Olle said the focus of the inquest on three children run over in driveways over five months would be on prevention.
He reassured the young victim’s families that the deaths had been a catalyst for concerted nationwide campaigns.
The three toddlers, whose surnames were suppressed, were hit by all-wheel-drive vehicles between February and June 2011.
Prabh, a 19-month-old boy, died when his dad reversed from a Hillside garage on February 15th.
Acting Senior Sergeant David Dimsey, assisting the coroner, said the boy’s grandmother had put him down momentarily to tie up his brother’s shoelace. The toddler crawled into the path of the Audi Q7, was struck, and died.
Three days later, a 17-month-old boy, Pio, was struck and killed by a drug-affected neighbour, 36, in a shared Chirnside Park driveway, Detective Sergeant Mark Amos told the court.
Sergeant Amos said tests revealed 27 nanograms of THC – the active ingredient in cannabis – in her blood, but experts could not say to what extent she had been impaired by it. Sergeant Amos said she was fined $500 and her licence was suspended for three months.
On June 14th, 14-month-old William died after being run over by a Toyota Landcruiser his father was reversing out of their Red Hill driveway.
The court heard the toddler followed his dad to the car unnoticed, and went to the front passenger side. The car’s sudden movement caused him to fall and be run over by the front wheel.
Mr Olle said the tragic deaths had prompted the development of a public awareness campaign.
He said 14 children had been run over in Victorian driveways between January 2000 and September 2012; half those deaths occurred after October 2010.
Mr Olle will make his findings on a date to be fixed – Emily Portelli