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Driver allegedly drank "heaps" before Wolli Creek fatality, court hears

Victim: Nicole Lewanski was killed on the Princes Highway at Wolli Creek in 2016.
Victim: Nicole Lewanski was killed on the Princes Highway at Wolli Creek in 2016.

A man told paramedics he drank "maybe 15 schooners of beer" before he crashed his ute into a 22-year-old woman at Wolli Creek in 2016, a court has heard this week.

Patrick Nealon, 38, was allegedly at a pub before he ran into Nicole Lewanski in December three years ago. He pleaded not guilty to aggravated dangerous driving occasioning death.

The court heard that Nealon was driving erratically and could "hardly walk" after the accident on the Princes Highway at about 5.45pm.

Crown prosecutor Christopher Taylor said an ambulance officer at the scene asked Nealon how much alcohol he had consumed.

He allegedly replied "heaps". The court heard he'd started drinking at 1.30pm. "He (the paramedic) could tell that the accused was intoxicated and flopping himself sideways," Mr Taylor said.

The prosecutor said several witnesses including police and ambulance officers will also testify to Nealon's apparent state at the time.

It's alleged Nealon attempted to evade a blood alcohol test at the scene by biting on the tube of the breathalyser rather than blowing into it.

But when tested at hospital he returned a high-range reading of 0.169 - over three times the legal limit.

"...They could smell alcohol from his direction. He was swaying on the spot. His speech was slurred and slow," Mr Taylor told the court.

Bus driver Bishoy Youssef was in traffic on Brodie Sparks Drive when he witnessed the accident.

Ms Lewankski, an aspiring librarian who was studying at university, had been walking home from her retail job at Big W. She was described by family as a bubbly and kind-hearted girl.

Mr Youssef described the moment the ute ploughed into a pedestrian island, flattened fencing and a traffic light pole before knocking Ms Lewanski into the air.

Witnesses described Nealon's ute as revving loudly and speeding as he approached the intersection.

"It was going bloody fast - very fast, quite fast," Mr Youssef said. "I saw someone flying and then banging into the ground and then a body. Then when I looked she didn't actually move."

The Crown alleges Nealon was driving south on the Princes Highway in his V8 Commodore ute when he swerved across two lanes of traffic in an attempt to make a sudden right turn.

The trial before Judge Jennie Girdham is expected to last four weeks.

Campaign: Wolli Creek residents had pushed for a overpass over the Princes Highway after the fatal accident. Picture: John Veage

Campaign: Wolli Creek residents had pushed for a overpass over the Princes Highway after the fatal accident. Picture: John Veage

After the accident, the Leader reported that Wolli Creek residents had called for a proposed pedestrian overpass to be brought forward.

Residents at the time said accidents there were a regular occurrence, as traffic was often gridlocked, and that drivers would frequently speed up on amber lights in an attempt to avoid the red.

The NSW Government had flagged the overpass in its Bayside West Precincts Land Use and Infrastructure Strategy.

With AAP

Tribute: Flowers at the site of the accident. Picture: John Veage

Tribute: Flowers at the site of the accident. Picture: John Veage

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