A Hunter woman has told a court of the moment she heard the crash that killed her mother - a prominent social worker and adoring grandmother - take place down a phone line.
Susan Crews died on the Pacific Highway at Lake Macquarie on the morning of May 13, 2019.
She was driving to work when a woman under the influence of cannabis crossed a concrete median strip in a Ford Falcon, traveled into oncoming traffic and crashed head-on into Ms Crews' vehicle.
The driver at-fault, Belmont North woman Peta Warland, pleaded guilty in June to dangerous driving occasioning death while under the influence.
She was due to be sentenced in Newcastle District Court on Wednesday, but Judge Tim Gartelmann SC adjourned the matter to Friday after submissions from the Crown and defense, as well as moving victim impact statements from Ms Crews' husband and two daughters.
Warland, however, was taken into custody after she asked Judge Gartelmann to revoke her bail and begin her jail term immediately, given she was certainly going to end up behind bars.
In her statement to the court, Ms Crews' daughter Jade Buckley recounted the morning her mother died.
She said she and her mum had a close relationship and were speaking to each other on legal hands-free devices when the crash took place.
Ms Buckley said part way through the conversation she heard the sound of the crash and her mother went silent. She called out down the phone line, but there was no response.
"I turned the volume up in my car to see what I could hear when I was faced with the most traumatic experience - I heard her struggling to breathe, [it is] the sound that always plays in my mind that no-one should ever have to hear," she said.
"I heard people rushing to the scene trying to wake her, voicing out loud her injuries and her state, all while I sat in total panic."
One of the first on the scene told Ms Buckley her mother had been in a car crash. She went to the scene and faced the task of calling her family to tell them the tragic news that her "beautiful mother and best friend had passed away".
"I had to hear the hearts break of those closest to me," she said.
"When I got there I saw the devastation, I saw the ambulance she was being worked-on in, I saw her car which was unrecognisable, I saw her belongings outside her car and I wasn't allowed to go and see her."
Ms Crews' other daughter, Jessica Buckley, said her mother was a respected social worker whose grandchildren were her "pride and joy".
She said her mother had been taken "in such a horrific way".
Ms Crews' husband Robert told of the struggle life had been without his beloved wife, saying she was "a beautiful soul and her memories will never fade from my thoughts".
Judge Gartelmann thanked the trio, telling the court "the law treats every life equal, but in truth every life is unique".
Warland gave evidence about her cannabis use, saying she smoked two to three joints most days but had not taken cannabis since the Saturday night before the Monday morning tragedy.
The Crown questioned the reliability of Warland's evidence, accusing her of playing down her drug use even though an expert - and undisputed - medical report found that Warland was "significantly impaired" at the time of the crash.
Warland apologised to Ms Crews' family while in the witness box and said she accepted that she faced a prison sentence.
"I know sorry won't ever fix what has happened," she said.
"I hope one day you find it in your hearts to forgive me, but I will never forgive myself."
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