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Jail for drink-driver who killed Vic man

·2-min read

A man who downed shots, mixers, wine and ignored his friend's warning not to drive has been jailed for at least two years for killing a 73-year-old Melbourne pedestrian.

Stephen Papagelou's car flung Henry Ekselman 15 metres as the man crossed Chapel Street at Prahran in November 2018.

Papagelou went through a light as it turned red in a bid to catch up with a friend driving ahead of him. He did not see Mr Ekselman until it was too late.

The 29-year-old was jailed in Victoria's County Court on Monday for four years. He must serve at least half that time before becoming eligible for parole.

In the three hours leading up to the crash, Papagelou drank three shots, three mixed drinks and shared a bottle of wine with friends.

As they left a pizza joint, one friend told Papagelou not to drive.

She said she felt unsafe and tried to get out of Papagelou's Mercedes-Benz, but he grabbed her arm and started to inch the car forward.

He sped through a 40km/h zone and hit Mr Ekselman as he crossed the road against a red pedestrian signal.

Papagelou returned a blood-alcohol reading of 0.075 after being arrested at the scene.

Judge Kevin Doyle said Mr Ekselman was "clearly an active, much-loved and highly respected man" whose life was cut short because of Papagelou's poor decisions.

Mr Ekselman's daughter, Cherry Hense, said she had nightmares about her dad's death.

"The degree of physical destruction to his body meant I was not initially permitted to view it and was later allowed only to see his face," she previously told the court.

Mr Ekselman's son, Will, said his grief was compounded by the fact his dad's organs could not be donated.

"This was one of the cruellest moments, knowing that absolutely no good could come from this terrible event," the man said.

Papagelou earlier apologised to the family in court and said he wished he could switch places with the victim.

"If I could turn back time and switch places with (Mr Ekselman) I would do it in a heartbeat," he said in a statement.

Papagelou pleaded guilty to dangerous driving causing death.

Since the crash, he has developed post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety and depression.

Judge Doyle accepted the man's genuine and profound remorse.

On top of his prison sentence, Papagelou's licence was cancelled for 18 months.