Drugged-up driver 'lucky' no one killed in highway smash
A DRIVER high on a cocktail of drugs smashed into a B-double on the Bruce Highway at Parklands while on parole for other crimes.
Christopher Michael Orreal told the Maroochydore Magistrates Court he "thanks the Lord every day" something worse didn't happen when he fell asleep at the wheel and crashed on June 18.
He pleaded guilty via videolink on Thursday to the dangerous operation of a motor vehicle while adversely affected by an intoxicating substance, and driving without a licence.
The court heard Orreal's driving was so concerning a member of the public called triple zero minutes before he crashed into the truck, which "luckily" didn't result in any serious injury or death.
The prosecution told the court when police arrived, Orreal was unable to string together a sentence, answer any questions and attempted to avoid revealing his identity to the police.
The court heard the former Australian Defence Force machine-gun operator turned to illicit and prescription drugs to deal with the deaths of his fellow soldiers and friends.
Though not officially diagnosed, Orreal's defence said he suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder and depression which he was not medicated for.
Magistrate Haydn Stjernqvist condemned Orreal's "appalling" criminal and traffic history.
"You're lucky you're here actually to plead guilty to it and not sitting there facing dangerous operation causing death," Mr Stjernqvist said.
Orreal was found with a number of substances in his system including amphetamines and methamphetamines.
He has remained in custody since the June 18 crash, and has served the remainder of the sentence he was on parole for, and a further 59 days declarable time relating to the crash.
Magistrate Haydn Stjernqvist sentenced him to 15 months' imprisonment for the dangerous operation charge, and one month concurrent for unlicensed driving.
Orreal is eligible for parole on November 3 this year, and is disqualified from driving for 15 months.