In the early hours of August 14, 2016, then 19-year-old Taylah Hocking left a 21st birthday party at a pub in central Victoria in her gold Holden sedan.
She was meant to be the designated driver for the night, having only had her probationary licence for three months, but had been drinking before she got behind the wheel.
Taylah had attended the party with her mother’s best friend, 45-year-old Tracey-Lee Kemp, but after an argument with a fellow party-goer, Tracey-Lee decided to walk home along Midland Highway instead.
Tracey-Lee was speaking to her boyfriend on the phone at 12:43am, when her phone suddenly went silent.
At the same time, phone records show Taylah, who was driving home along the highway, received a text message from her ex-boyfriend.
It's believed she hit Tracey-Lee while distracted on her phone. But she didn't stop, instead driving four more kilometres before turning into a side street and staging another accident.
Yesterday, a court found the Taylah, now 20, guilty of dangerous driving causing death. It's expected she will be sentenced to three years in jail.
During her trial, the court heard that Tracey-Lee - who Taylah regarded as "a second mother" who she had known since she was a child - had most likely survived the initial impact. But her body, lying face down on the road, was not found until more than two hours later.
Emergency services were called, but the 45-year-old could not be saved.
After the hit-and-run, the court heard Taylah deliberating drove her car into a tree, abandoning her vehicle after calling her mother for assistance so she could be taken somewhere to "sober up".
A police reconstruction determined that Taylah's car had hit the tree at a low speed and that there were no emergency brake marks in the lead up to the crash. The damage to her car was determined to be be the result of striking a pedestrian.
Around 10am on August 14, Taylah was questioned by police over the incident.
She told the she had crashed into the tree after becoming distracted while "changing the radio station". She also denied killing her mother's best friend.
"I didn't do it, I'd remember," she told police, according to the Bendigo Advertiser.
"You can't not remember something like that."
In December last year, she admitted her involvement and pleaded guilty.
On Friday, during her pre-sentence hearing, Judge Bill Stuart said there was a "certain callousness" to Taylah's actions on the night of the accident.
"For all she knew, the person could have been alive. She didn't do anything. Her thoughts were for herself," he told the court.
"Anyone driving at night would have had a clear view of a person walking on the shoulder of the highway.
"The only possible explanation for this collision is that you chose to read those texts while you were driving.
"You chose to be distracted. You chose to drive whilst having consumed alcohol during the course of the night.
"You chose not to tell anybody. You chose to make a fake accident in order to cover your tracks."
Taylah Hocking will be formally sentenced on August 22.