A Sydney man was on a telephone call with his car’s wireless Bluetooth system when he ran a red light and killed a young police officer on a motorcycle, court documents reveal.
Tommy Balla, 37, a wannabe rapper from The Ponds whose stage name is Tom-E-Gun, turned right about two seconds after the turning arrow had flashed red when he smashed into NSW Police Constable Aaron Vidal’s oncoming Triumph bike at a Rouse Hill intersection as the policeman was riding home from his shift in June 2020.
Agreed facts state Balla later told investigators he was taking a call using the Bluetooth-enabled system installed in his Mitsubishi Triton ute at the time of the collision.
There was no evidence of drugs or alcohol contributing to the crash.
Balla stopped at the intersection of Windsor and Schofields roads and claimed to police the right-hand turn arrow was amber as his vehicle entered the intersection and that he’d “panicked”.
“I just got past the white line, it changed red … I panicked, do I go? Do I stay? I felt it was safer for me to go, I turned the corner, I was probably near the exit of that turn before I felt someone hit behind the passenger seat,” Balla said.
Balla also said he hadn’t seen Constable Vidal’s motorcycle prior to the collision and that he felt like the bike had hit his vehicle at some speed.
Several witnesses confirmed to police that Constable Vidal, 28, of Bligh Park, had entered the intersection to head north when he had a green light. Russell Dobson, told police:
“It was all pretty quick, one second and then he’s T-boned the … ute”.
Tommy Balla leaves Riverstone Police Station after being release on bail. Picutre: Toby Zerna
Constable Vidal died at the scene. Balla has pleaded guilty to dangerous driving occasioning death and will be sentenced on Friday.
Constable Vidal’s fiancee Jessica announced at his funeral last year that she was pregnant with their only child before giving birth to a boy, Etzio, in January.
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