When Dale Kennett, asleep in a car, thought he was being attacked by a drunk man he panicked and hastily reversed out of a driveway.
But in the dead of night, with his windows fogged up and only one working headlight, the 54-year-old couldn't see that another man, Jason Young, was lying on the ground.
Kennett drove over the top of Mr Young and killed the 48-year-old at Hamilton, in Victoria's southwest, in March 2020.
He reversed fast enough to leave tyre marks on the driveway and the dead man's body.
Kennett on Thursday faced the Victorian County Court, where he was sentenced to a total of three-and-a-half years in prison after a jury found him guilty of dangerous driving causing death.
He must serve at least two-and-a-half years before being eligible for parole.
"You should not have been driving at all by reason of your inoperative headlight and the presence of drugs in your system," Judge Fran Dalziel said.
"Even accepting that you reacted in fear having been woken abruptly ... your decision to accelerate away when you could not see clearly out of your vehicle was obviously dangerous."
Kennett was sleeping in his car at a friend's house before the crash and was found to have ice in his system.
His friends had been out and arrived with Mr Young at their home in a taxi.
Some of the group went inside but Mr Young and another man stayed outside.
Witnesses said they saw the other man banging on the car windows before Kennett drove away.
Kennett's lawyer Campbell Thomson previously said his client was trying to escape an attack by the drunk man and believed driving away was his only option.
"If he got out it could have led to a damaging assault on either side," Mr Thomson told the court.
"No one in a position of Mr Kennett could have reasonably foreseen Mr Young would be lying on the road that night."
The taxi driver said he didn't believe Kennett could have seen Mr Young, while a traffic expert couldn't say one way or the other.
Kennett was initially charged with dangerous driving causing death and failing to stop and render assistance.
A jury found him guilty of the first charge in August last year, but acquitted him of the second.
"In a split second my parents lost a child, no one is ever ready for the loss of a child," Mr Young's sister Tammy told the court.
Kennett has already served nine months in pre-sentence detention.
Australian Associated Press