Truck driver Michael Knowler who killed Jessica West and her son Deighton faces


A Bendigo man whose wife and son died in a horror crash has faced the truck driver responsible for their deaths.

Truck driver Michael Knowler wasn’t affected by alcohol or drugs and had a perfect driving record of more than 40 years, but his failure to give way at an intersection cost two lives.

Today he came face to face with the victims’ family for the first time since the crash during a pre-sentence hearing in Victoria’s County Court.

Jessica West and her son Deighton were tragically killed after their car was struck by a truck in 2019. (Supplied)
Anthony West saw his wife and son’s killer in court. (Nine)

Knowler, 60, has pleaded guilty to killing Jess West and her 5-year-old son Deighton on December 29, 2019 when he drove through a give way sign at Kingston in Western Victoria and collided with their car.

Ms West’s husband Anthony West was behind the wheel of the family car.

Today he described his guilt at not being able to save his wife and son, combined with his relief that his older son, 9-year-old Oakley, survived the crash.

“I called out for a response … only to hear deafening silence.

“The realisation set in that my family had been wiped out,” he said.

Anthony West and 9-year-old son Oakley survived the horror crash. (Nine)
Anthony West and eldest son Oakley survived the horrific crash. (Nine)

(Nine)

Deighton West was weeks away from starting prep at Strathfieldsaye Primary where his mother was a teacher.

Prosecutors say that Michael Knowler was paying insufficient attention because he was distracted by his GPS and the truckie, from Western Australia, should have been driving slower because he wasn’t familiar with the area.

“I didn’t see them … I tried to stop and hit the gravel,” he said.

He will be sentenced at a later date.



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