ON bail and in the grips of a spiralling ice addiction, Mario Formosa had a choice to make after he crashed his car on an isolated stretch of road in the early hours of October 15, 2017, seriously injuring his "best mate" Daniel John Hamming.
Formosa, now 51, could call triple-zero immediately, an act that a forensic pathologist later opined could have saved Mr Hamming's life.
Or he could run. He could think only of himself, leave his best mate for dead and get well clear of the crash. Formosa chose to run.
Formosa, a drug dealer, jumped from the stricken vehicle on Wootton Way, north of Bulahdelah, at 4.40am and furiously began trying to organise his escape.
While Mr Hamming lay dying from multiple internal injuries, Formosa spent the next two hours texting and calling friends to organise lifts.
"Can you pick me up from my place and hurry the f--- up," Formosa told one mate.
Despite speaking to multiple people, he made no mention of the crash or Mr Hamming's dire condition.
At 6.56am, more than two hours after the impact and after Mr Hamming's body had been found by a passing motorist, Formosa finally called triple-zero.
"I've had to walk so that I could get phone service away from the car," he told the operator. "My friend's injured."
Phone records would reveal that claim to be a lie. Between the time of the crash and his triple-zero call, Formosa had sent 10 text messages and made 11 phone calls to friends in a bid to distance himself from the crash. "It is not just a case of running off and leaving his friend in this state," Crown prosecutor Matthew Coates said on Friday.
"He makes calls to friends to pick him up. It is an afterthought more than two hours later that he makes a call to triple-zero to get someone there. Once he is well clear. He must have known that the victim was going to be there in this condition, trapped in a car alone on a rainy early morning until someone comes past at God knows when and at that time he is deceased."
Judge Roy Ellis described it as a "reprehensible offence" and jailed Formosa for six-and-a-half years, with a non-parole period of three-years-and-nine-months.