Driver to live with grief after killing her best friend

A Victorian woman who killed her best friend after crashing into a pole while high on cannabis has asked to be spared jail time.

Jessica Glennie, 24, was driving with Janelle Noonan-Long in Diggers Rest just before midnight on September 25, 2021, when she lost control of her car.

The driver's side of the Holden ute crashed into an electricity pole on Plumpton Road and the car flipped onto its roof before landing upright.

Ms Noonan-Long was crushed by the ute's roof and pronounced dead at the scene, while Glennie needed to be airlifted to hospital with life-threatening injuries. 

Taylah Modrich speaks to media outside the County Court of Victoria
The victim and her partner Taylah Modrich (pictured) had been planning to start a family together.

She continues to undergo treatment to this day after suffering multiple spine fractures, a collapsed lung, a miscarriage and a traumatic brain injury.

Glennie cried throughout her plea hearing in the Victorian County Court on Tuesday, where she admitted dangerous driving causing her best friend's death. 

She also pleaded guilty to driving while under the influence of cannabis. 

Her lawyer Naomi Smith said the 24-year-old loved Ms Noonan-Long and was acutely aware she was to blame for her death. 

"She made me a better person," Glennie said in a statement through her lawyer.

"It's hard for me to think of a future without her."

Ms Noonan-Long's family also made victim impact statements to the court, describing their ongoing grief after losing their beautiful, kind-loving soul.

The victim and her partner Taylah Modrich had been planning to start a family together, but that was taken away from them.

"Losing Janelle has not only stolen the joy from the present but also cast a shadow over the future," Ms Modrich said in her statement.

Glennie cannot remember the day of the crash nor explain what caused her to lose control of the vehicle.

Evidence showed the ute was in good condition, the road was clear and Glennie had not been speeding.

There was 3ml of cannabis found in Glennie's blood sample after the crash.

Ms Smith said Glennie had been diagnosed with cannabis use disorder, major depression and anxiety.

The 24-year-old also had a four-year-old son with developmental delays to whom she was the primary carer, Ms Smith said.

The defence counsel urged Judge Peter Lauritsen not to send Glennie to jail, saying her already ailing physical and mental health would suffer in custody.

Being separated from her son would also be detrimental to her health and the young boy's development, Ms Smith said.

The prosecution called for a jail term to be handed down alongside a community corrections order.

Judge Lauritsen will hand down his sentence in February, with Glennie's bail extended to her next court date. 

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