John Manz leaves court after pleading guilty to driving while under the influence of marijuana.
John Manz leaves court after pleading guilty to driving while under the influence of marijuana.

Drug driver truckie’s son suffers broken leg in head-on

JOHN Manz was behind the wheel of a turf truck when a blast of pepper from his son’s lunch sent him hurtling head-on into oncoming traffic.

His son suffered a broken a leg in the subsequent crash, with Manz and the innocent driver of the other vehicle receiving minor injuries.

Ipswich Magistrates Court heard shortly after the incident occurred near Grandchester, Manz returned a positive test to cannabis.

John Ross Manz, 39, from Lockrose, pleaded guilty to driving while under the influence of marijuana on Sunday, March 22.

Police prosecutor Senior Sergeant Trent Voigt the crash happened at 8.15am when Manz was driving a small Isuzu truck.

His son was a passenger and when he opened a food container it caused Manz to sneeze, and he drove onto the wrong side of the road towards an coming driver.

The other driver swerved to miss a head-on collision, but Manz also swerved and both vehicles collided.

Sgt Voigt said there was significant damage, with the Isuzu truck written off by the insurer.

The son suffered a broken leg and lacerations, and was admitted to hospital.

Blood tests on Manz were positive to having cannabis in his system, with the driver telling police he had smoked it the night before.

His defence lawyer said Manz was a dad of four who worked for a turf company.

“His son was opening a lunch box and pepper flew up. went up his nose,” he said.

Magistrate Virginia Sturgess asked if Manz was then pleading guilty to the driving UIL charge.

“He pleads guilty he drove when under the influence of a drug,” the lawyer said.

“He had cannabis in his system. He was charged with driving under the influence.”

Ms Sturgess said his minimum disqualification would be nine months because Manz had a relevant prior conviction in 2018 for drink driving.

The court heard he also had past convictions for drug offences in 2012 and 2013, and in 2014 for being drunk and disorderly.

“He has obviously got a drug problem. What is he doing about that?” Ms Sturgess asked.

“I have no instructions about that,” the lawyer responded.

Ms Sturgess said the accident was serious, with injuries to a child and significant damage to the vehicles.

“It was very fortunate it was not more serious,” she said.

“I strongly suggest Mr Manz that you do something about your addiction issues. Having cannabis in your system is a recipe for disaster.”

Manz was convicted and fined $1200. His licence was disqualified for nine months.



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