A woman who lied to police about her Tesla being on autopilot when she hit a pedestrian has been sentenced to nine months’ imprisonment.

Sakshi Agrawal struck 26-year-old nurse Nicole Lagos as she tried to board a tram on a March morning in Melbourne in 2022, before fleeing the scene.

She returned two hours later and was arrested by police.

For two years Agrawal fought the charges of dangerous driving causing injury and failing to stop after an accident, falsely claiming the car had failed to stop while on autopilot mode and that the victim jumped in front of the car.

Investigations into the car’s data and mechanics found no record of braking, that a collision alarm sounded for at least one second and the car had no mechanical faults.

Witness testimony said Ms Lagos was thrown “into the air as high as a stop sign” and came to rest on the road eight to 10 metres from the point of impact.

County Court Judge Peter Rozen said Ms Lagos suffered “profound and enduring” injuries, including a fractured skull, rib fractures, a liver laceration and an acquired brain injury.

She was in hospital for three weeks before being transferred to the acquired brain injury rehabilitation unit at Epworth Hospital.

“She had ongoing post-traumatic amnesia for a period of approximately 30 days from the time of the collision and has had ongoing issues with more complex tasks, which has limited her ability to return to work,” Justice Rozen told the court.

“Ms Lagos could have been killed by your driving.”

Ms Lagos said in a statement to the court she was haunted by an ever-present uncertainty her brain injury would hinder her professional, social and romantic hopes.

In sentencing, Justice Rozen accepted Agrawal’s decision to flee was made in a panic, and took into account her lack of prior offences, her mental health and the fact a custodial sentence could result in her deportation to India.

He accepted Agrawal was genuinely remorseful for her actions despite initially fighting the case.

The nine-month sentence included four months for dangerous driving, and seven months for failing to stop, with two months of the first charge served cumulatively on the second.

Failing to stop after an accident carries a maximum jail term of 10 years.

Agrawal’s driving licence has been cancelled and she will be unable to reapply for at least four years.

“The tragic reality is that this court sees far too many cases just like this one,” Justice Rozen said.

“So often, young people such as Ms Lagos are killed or suffer lifelong injury because of another young person failing to drive safely.”

Source: AAP