Ryan and Justine Hodges and children Chelsea and Clayton have lost their entire property in the Cobraball/Bungundarra fires.
Ryan and Justine Hodges and children Chelsea and Clayton have lost their entire property in the Cobraball/Bungundarra fires.

A month to wait for DUI charge after evacuation

POLICE have defended their actions in charging Ryan Hodges, 42, with drink driving on Saturday night after he was evacuated and tried to return home, claiming they have a "duty of care".

Mr Hodges told The Morning Bulletin on Monday, he was having quiet drinks at home on Saturday afternoon when the wind changed direction and headed towards his place on Norpine Rd.

By 6.30pm he was being evacuated and his wife and kids left in a separate car while he was packing some valuables into his work van.

He got 200 metres up the road and saw flames coming over to his property and decided to turn around and try to fight it, only to be stopped by police, which he had already driven past, for a breath test.

Police provided a statement of the incident to The Morning Bulletin on Tuesday morning, confirming he was evacuated by police and he later returned.

"The man was advised by an officer staffing the roadblock that he could not re-enter the exclusion zone due to the extreme fire danger," the statement goes on to say.

"The man allegedly refused to obey this direction and was subsequently arrested for obstructing police.

"A Roadside Breath Analysis indicated the man to be over the legal alcohol limit.

"He was conveyed to Yeppoon for further testing where he provided a positive Breath Alcohol Concentration of 0.133 per cent.

"He was issued with a Notice to Appear for drink driving and obstructing police."

This notice to appear was listed for December 12 and his license was immediately suspended until this date.

"The Queensland Police Service has a duty of care to all residents within a disaster zone to ensure their safety," the statement read.

"Members of the public who have been evacuated in a bushfire emergency are not permitted to return to their homes until deemed safe.

"The QPS maintains in this incident it would have been highly negligent for officers to have allowed the man to re-enter the disaster zone or continue to operate a vehicle while affected by alcohol."

Mr Hodges claimed police spoke to him rudely and he was unfairly treated. When questioning police on this, police media said "We would advise anyone who wishes to make a complaint in relation to Queensland Police to do so via their local station, Policelink or the online complaints form."

"As the matter is before the courts, it would be inappropriate for police to provide further comment."

When asked if there was body cam footage available, police media advised "if you wish to hear all evidence pertaining to the matter you can attend court."



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