A truck driver who crashed into a caravan which had pulled over on the side of the Bruce Highway has faced court.
Daniel Hamuera Stuart, 47, pleaded guilty to driving without due care and attention at the time of the accident which happened near St Lawrence on November 10, 2020.
A vehicle towing a caravan had pulled over to check for a flat tyre when Stuart’s Volvo prime mover struck it, seriously injuring a woman who was trapped under the wreckage.
Police prosecutor Sergeant Paul Caldwell told Ipswich Magistrates Court the 81-year-old woman was transported to Mackay base hospital with a serious head injury.
The Queensland Times reports that the truckie has not worked since and suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder.
Sgt Caldwell said the crash happened at 10.30am in a 110km/h speed zone. The road was straight with a slight incline.
According to the Queensland Times, the woman was driving a white Nissan ute and towing a caravan northbound when she pulled off the road to check for a flat tyre. The police said the caravan received extensive damage with the woman pushed underneath the caravan where she was trapped for a short time.
Sgt Caldwell said Stuart told officers he saw the caravan pulled over but, as he drew near his anti-collision system activated, causing him to collide with the caravan. A police examination of the crash scene indicated the caravan had protruded 13 centimetres onto the northbound lane.
Police also examined dash-camera footage taken from the Volvo.
The Queensland Times reports that Sgt Caldwell said driver fatigue was the likely cause because Stuart had not taken an appropriate rest period as required for heavy vehicle drivers and ‘pushed on’ with his driving.
He said camera footage shows the truck drifting over the line in a fatigue incident 100 seconds before the accident.
Defence lawyer Grant Young said Stuart should have taken the break but there had been a delay in the job.
“It was not deliberate to exceed his work hours,” Mr Young said.
As a result of the crash Stuart had not worked or driven trucks since, and was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.
Magistrate Donna MacCallum said there was nothing of great significance on Stuart’s traffic record.
“It is serious. People driving trucks need to be extra cautious. I am told it has affected you greatly,” Ms MacCallum said.
The Queensland Times reports that Stuart was fined $1800 and disqualified from driving for three months.