Truckie on ice 'horrifying', but not to blame in fatal crash

OFF THE ROAD: The driver of the B-double truck involved in fatal crash on the Pacific Hwy at Woodburn in August 2014 has been disqualified from driving for 18 months and fined $800 for driving under the influence of the drug ice.
OFF THE ROAD: The driver of the B-double truck involved in fatal crash on the Pacific Hwy at Woodburn in August 2014 has been disqualified from driving for 18 months and fined $800 for driving under the influence of the drug ice. Samantha Elley

A B-DOUBLE truck driver whose trailer was hit in a double fatality at Woodburn while he was under the influence of the drug ice in August 2014 has been disqualified from driving for 18 months.

Queensland man Anthony Smith appeared at Lismore Local Court on Tuesday facing charges of driving under the influence of alcohol or another drug and driving a vehicle with an illicit drug present in his blood.

While Smith was not at fault, the charges related to a head-on crash on the Pacific Hwy north of Woodburn on August 23.

Police facts before the court stated Smith, 50, was driving a Scotts Transport B-double on the highway between 11am and 11.10am when he went to overtake a white four-wheel-drive Ssangyong towing a caravan.

Approaching the B-double and Ssangyong was a dark grey Holden Colorado towing a box trailer.

While Smith continued to overtake, the Ssangyong driver merged into the overtaking lane until the caravan collided with a trailer of the B-double.

>> OUR 2014 REPORT ON THE CRASH

The Ssangyong driver then lost control and the caravan became detached, before the vehicle crossed to the wrong side of the highway and hit the Holden head on.

The 41-year-old man driving the Holden and a 72-year-old woman, who was the front seat passenger in the Ssangyong, died at the scene.

A 34-year-old woman who was the front seat passenger in the Holden is now a paraplegic.

Smith stopped 600 metres from the scene, was arrested and taken to Lismore Base Hospital for mandatory blood and urine tests.

The court heard the North Coast Crash Investigation Unit found Smith was not at fault in the crash.

When Smith's barrister Ben Cochrane entered a guilty plea to driving under the influence, the prosecutor withdrew the charge of driving with an illicit drug present in his blood.

Mr Cochrane said Smith, from Yamanto near Ipswich, had been a professional truck driver for many years.

In sentencing Smith, Magistrate David Heilpern said everyone had driven along the Pacific Hwy at some stage, and many people with children in their cars.

He said the thought of a truck being driven by someone on amphetamines bearing down on a car was horrifying and was a concern for the whole community.

"Amphetamine use in truck drivers is a well known and well documented problem," he said.

"Professional drivers have a professional responsibility not to drive with amphetamines in their system."

Mr Heilpern disqualified Smith from driving for 18 months and imposed a fine of $800.



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