No sleep, drugs, alcohol – a deadly concoction
MINA NASHED, the teenage provisional driver whose rented truck struck and killed cyclist and popular children’s fairy entertainer Milli O’Nair, was drinking at two Gold Coast nightclubs and went at least two days without proper sleep before the fatal accident.
Nashed, 19, yesterday pleaded guilty in the Lismore Local Court to dangerous driving causing the death of Ms O’Nair, 41, on the Pacific Highway at the Tyagarah rail crossing bridge at 6.45am on May 10.
Magistrate Michael Dakin committed Nashed to appear before the Lismore District Court on November 30 to set a sentence date. Charges of negligent driving causing death; driving a vehicle with an illicit drug (cannabis) present in his blood; and low-range drink driving were also referred to the District Court.
In agreed Crown facts Nashed, previously of Western Sydney and now living at Hendra near Brisbane, thought he might have hit an animal with the Thrifty Mitsubishi Canter pantec.
Nashed was returning south to Sydney with a friend, Mushari Faris, after driving to Brisbane the previous day. During a stop at the Gold Coast he visited two nightclubs and drank three Bacardi rums mixed with Red Bulls, then slept between 3.30am and 5.30am before driving towards Ballina.
Police found Nashed with the damaged van stopped on Ewingsdale Road at 7.10am, 3km from the fatal crash site. When asked what had happened he said he did not know because he had fallen asleep at the wheel but surmised an animal must have jumped in front of his truck. A breath test revealed a blood/alcohol reading of 0.055.
At the same time other police were being told of bike parts found on the Pacific Highway, with one driver, Stephen Johnson, picking up a wheel, bike shoes and a glove that he took to the police station. A police search found the Gondwana Sanctuary resident’s body 7m below in bushes at the southern end of the bridge.
Another 108m south of the bridge a damaged bike frame was found 3m over the steel guard rail. Nashed’s truck front bumper had a black tyre mark, its windscreen was impacted inwards and there were scrape marks along its side.
The Crown facts state Nashed had ‘micro sleeps’ as he drove and recalled a ‘flash’ at the time of impact, but did not see any cyclist. He awoke to the windscreen shattering and his mate turning the steering wheel from the side of the road and pulling on the handbrake.