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Driver who caused crash that killed firefighter Mat Kavanagh during the bushfire crisis is jailed

A dangerous driver who killed a hero firefighter during the catastrophic Black Summer has been jailed. 

Novak John Selby, 47, was behind the wheel of the car which smashed into a ute carrying two firefighters near Thornton, north-east of Melbourne, on January 3.

Father of two, Mat Kavanagh, 43, died on impact, leaving behind wife Jude to raise their two young children alone.

Selby initially blamed the driver of the other car for the crash, but later pleaded guilty to dangerous driving causing death and submitted an apology to the family.

The 47-year-old was on Tuesday sentenced to two years and three months in jail.

Selby was driving along Goulburn Valley Highway when he veered onto the wrong side of the road and slammed into the oncoming vehicle.

The car was carrying two fire management workers who had been visiting campsites in the alpine region.  

While police discovered cannabis in Selby’s system at the time of the crash it was found the tragedy was a result of ‘momentary inattention.’   

In handing down the sentence Judge Gavan Meredith took into account a ‘degree of remorse’ by the driver, as outlined in a letter of apology from Selby.

He said the driver’s actions had resulted in ‘catastrophic consequences’ for the victim’s family. 

His devastated wife told the court: ‘I’ve never lost anything so suddenly before. I no longer have a husband to share the highs and lows of life.

‘It’s not fair that the kids will grow up without their father.’

Selby will be eligible for parole after serving a minimum of 15 months behind bars. 

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