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Brain-damaged driver jailed over Vic death

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December 05, 2017

Victim Amber Beard's mother (centre) leaves court after drunk-driver Emily Toulson was jailed.

A drink-driving young Victorian mother has been jailed for at least five years over a crash that killed her teenage friend and left others in intensive care.

Emily Toulson, 24, had a blood-alcohol reading twice the legal limit when she crashed into a pole at Mount Evelyn in October 2015, killing 16-year-old Amber Beard and badly injuring five of the other eight people who had piled into the car.

In the Victorian County Court on Tuesday, Toulson was jailed for eight years and eight months after pleading guilty to culpable driving and negligently causing serious injury.

She must serve at least five years before being eligible for parole.

Toulson and her friends had been drinking and swimming at a lake at Lilydale and her boyfriend warned her not to drive, confiscating her keys before she demanded them back.

On the way home in her supercharged Holden Commodore, she drove erratically and was told to slow down by friends but she didn't listen.

She took a corner at a speed of at least 100km/h in a 60km/h zone and lost control, side-swiping two other cars before ploughing into a concrete traffic pole.

Judge Michael O'Connell called it a serious example of culpable driving that claimed the life of a young woman and left her family and friends devastated.

"Its catastrophic effects will be felt for years to come," he said.

Toulson, who has three young children, suffered a traumatic brain injury in the crash and she now has cognitive, memory and speech difficulties, which the judge said will make her time in prison more onerous.

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