UNDER PRESSURE: Cars and trucks are forced to share substandard North Coast roads, which is stressful for drivers at the best o
UNDER PRESSURE: Cars and trucks are forced to share substandard North Coast roads, which is stressful for drivers at the best o

Maniac truckie jailed for road rage

By HANNAH ROSS

A TRUCK driver who started using amphetamines at the age of 18 in order to meet his interstate deadlines was yesterday jailed for 14 months for menacing driving.

A Lismore magistrate described the crime as like something out of the hit Stephen Spielberg film, Duel, where a maniacal truck driver terrorises a motorist.

Christopher John Ford, 28, has been in custody since December 13 after turning himself in at Woodburn police station.

Ford’s surrender to police came after three motorists between Coffs Harbour and Woodburn called 000 to report his 180km highway rampage.

Lismore Local Court magistrate Nick Reimer yesterday said it was ‘hard to imagine a worse case of menacing driving’.

The court heard Ford stopped in Coffs Harbour at 10.30am, where he injected amphetamines (speed) into his arm.

About 20 kilometres north of Coffs Harbour, a silver Landcruiser occupied by a family of six used a passing lane to overtake Ford’s B-double truck.

The court heard Ford ‘appeared to become enraged’ by the actions of the Landcruiser’s driver. He proceeded to tailgate the Landcruiser up the highway. Sometimes Ford’s truck fell behind the Landcruiser, but he made up speed in the towns to once again get back on the Landcruiser’s tail.

He ran a green van off the road in his attempt to stay close to the Landcruiser.

Approaching Grafton he forced a female driver to turn into a side road to escape his menacing driving. Ford stopped at Woodburn after learning he had been reported to police, who said he was ‘glassy-eyed, slurring and had track marks on his arms’.

Ford’s solicitor said her client had started taking amphetamines a year after obtaining his licence so he could meet his driving schedule.

The court heard Ford’s company often supplied amphetamines to its drivers.

Ford’s offence came three weeks after the death of his grandmother, whose funeral he was unable to attend because of work commitments.

Magistrate Reimer said the incident was reminiscent of the movie Duel.

“His actions had the potential to cause the death of innocent holiday-makers. Motorists have the right to travel without harassment and torment,” Mr Reimer said.

He reduced Ford’s custodial sentence by four months due to his early guilty plea.

Ford was also sentenced to a six-month concurrent jail term for driving under the influence of drugs, fined $200 for self-administering a drug and $200 for not keeping proper log books.



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