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Tesla driver who blamed Autopilot setting for hitting nurse learns his fate as he faces deportation


A driver who blamed her Tesla’s autopilot setting when she mowed down a nurse boarding a tram in March 2022 has been sentenced to nine months in prison.

Indian national Sakshi Agrawal, 25, who is in Australia on a bridging visa, could be deported to her home country after serving time for a «fight and flight» offence.

The P-plater pleaded guilty to dangerous driving causing serious injury and failing to stop in the Victorian District Court, just days before her trial was due to start over the early morning crash on Wattletree Road in the Melbourne suburb of Armadale.

Nurse Nicole Lagos, then 26, spent a fortnight in an induced coma and suffered life-changing injuries after being hit at 58km/h and thrown 10 meters while boarding a tram.

The tram driver and other passengers heard a loud «bang», while the driver behind Agrawal’s $68,000 Tesla Model 3 saw Ms Lagos «thrown into the air as high as a stop sign».

Sakshi Agrawal (pictured), who blamed her Tesla’s autopilot settings when she mowed down a nurse boarding a tram in March 2022, has been sentenced to nine months in prison.

Agrawal initially fled the scene in panic but returned two hours later where she was arrested by the police.

The court heard she initially told police the Tesla was driving on autopilot and that its automatic braking had failed when Ms Lagos «jumped» in front of her car.

However, an investigation later revealed that the autopilot function was not engaged at the time, a potential collision warning had been activated moments before the accident and that no braking was recorded.

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CCTV showed the luxury vehicle overtaking several cars before ending up behind a busy tram, which Agrawal was then trying to beat when disaster struck.

Defense counsel Nick Papas KC admitted his client had lied to the police.

«The reality is that she was trying to rationalize her own behaviour, trying to explain the inexplicable and how she could do something like this,» he told the court.

The extent of Ms Lagos’ injuries was revealed in court where her harrowing victim impact statement was read out.

She spent two weeks in an induced coma with a traumatic brain injury at The Alfred hospital where she worked.

«After I woke up from the coma, I was in post-traumatic amnesia,» Ms Lagos’ statement read.

“It took me 30 days before I was competent enough to remember things like the day of the week.

«I’ll be brain damaged for the rest of my life.»

Before the crash, Ms. Lagos had been going to the gym six days a week and training for a marathon.

She now has a minimal social life, low self-esteem, can’t concentrate for more than an hour at a time, and worries about whether she’ll ever meet a life partner and have a family.

«Life without dreams is pretty bleak. There is nothing to work for,” she said.

«Every time I pass a car or see a streetcar, it’s a reminder that this happened to me.»

Judge Peter Rozen told Agrawal she did not stop to help her injured victim as required by law and «common decency», the Herald Sun reported.

«Instead you accelerated to a speed of approximately 78km/h and continued to drive for approximately three kilometers before parking your vehicle in Epping Street, Malvern» where she called her flatmate and a friend and told them she was «scared and didn’t know what to do do do’.

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The judge said Agrawal’s dangerous driving was not due to carelessness but a «bad judgement» when she decided to overtake the tram before stopping.

He rejected a defense lawyer’s call for a community corrections order and instead agreed with prosecutors that a prison sentence was required.

Sakshi Agrawal (pictured being questioned by police) initially fled the scene of the collision but returned two hours later

Sakshi Agrawal (pictured being questioned by police) initially fled the scene of the collision but returned two hours later

The P-plater pleaded guilty to dangerous driving causing serious injury and failing to stop in the Victorian District Court, just days before her trial was due to start over the early morning crash on Wattletree Road (pictured) in the Melbourne suburb of Armadale.

The P-plater pleaded guilty to dangerous driving causing serious injury and failing to stop in the Victorian District Court, just days before her trial was due to start over the early morning crash on Wattletree Road (pictured) in the Melbourne suburb of Armadale.

«The courts need to send a message to other drivers, especially young people like you,» he said.

Agrawal, who was fired from her security job because of her crimes, had hoped to become an Australian permanent resident.

But now she faces deportation once she serves her prison sentence.

Her driver’s license was revoked and she was banned from getting another for four years.



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