Truck crash driver had amphetamines in blood

By HELEN JACK

AMPHETAMINES were found in the blood of a truck driver who died in a crash at Alphadale in April last year.

But at a coronial inquest held at Lismore Court yesterday evidence was presented that the level of the drug was very low.

The inquest is looking into the deaths of John Evans, 40, of Casino, and James McPherson, 35, of Clunes.

The two men were killed when a B-double driven by Mr Evans ran off the road and crashed at Alphadale near Lismore.

Magistrate Nick Reimer is con- sidering evidence from Northern Rivers Crash Investigation Unit Senior Constable Stuart Turner, Forensic Crash Reconstruction Team leader Senior Constable Brian Bain, Dr William Allenda, Roads and Traffic Authority inspector Barry Scott as well as eyewitnesses to the crash.

Dr Allenda told the inquiry amphetamines were present in the driver's blood but there was no evidence to indicate how much he had consumed or when.

Dr Allenda explained the drug was bi-phasic and that after a consumer experienced a period of stimulation they would then slump with fatigue.

Evans' family solicitor, John Walsh, cross-examined Dr Allenda on the affects of amphetamines.

He asked the doctor to consider that Mr Evans had slept eight hours the night before.

"Could it be the case the findings are consistent with someone taking the drug many hours before?" Mr Walsh said.

Dr Allenda admitted the amphetamine level found in Mr Evans' blood was far too low for the drug to have been taken just before the accident.

He also revealed he had not been told Mr Evans had slept eight hours before driving.

It was also revealed two damaged tyres and a missing spacer plate in the first axle's suspension were also unlikely to have caused the smash.

RTA inspector Barry Scott said although the tyres were damaged there were 12 tyres on each trailer so the effect of two would have been minimal.

He said the missing spacer in the suspension would have barely affected the handling of the vehicle.

"Everything I inspected on the vehicle was in acceptable condition," Mr Scott said.

Mr Reimer will deliver his findings this morning.



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