Suspension for drugged-up truckie
A TRUCK driver who was under the influence of a cocktail of drugs when he crashed his prime mover on the Pacific Highway at Chatsworth Island escaped a jail sentence at Maclean court this week.
Blood tests conducted at Lismore Base Hospital found Gary Hutchins of Sunnybank Hills in Queensland was under the influence of methylamphetamine, amphetamines and cannabis when he rolled his truck at 2.45am on May 13 this year.
But the "professional driver" will only spend six months off the road despite a damage bill estimated at $400,000 by police from the accident.
Police facts tendered to the court stated witnesses reported minutes before the smash that the prime mover carrying frozen goods Hutchins was driving was travelling slowly and "wobbling" near the Harwood Bridge.
Less than one kilometre later the truck left the road and continued on a roadside grass verge for 60 metres before hitting a raised section of the verge at the Ryans Ln intersection, rolling and coming to rest in a canefield.
Hutchins received facial and shoulder injuries and was transferred by ambulance to Lismore Base hospital.
Alternate traffic arrangements were put in place during the salvage operation of the truck, disrupting Pacific Highway motorists.
Police facts stated Hutchins had more than five previous drug possession and supply convictions on his criminal record.
He also had been previously charged for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
On Tuesday magistrate Shane McAnulty disqualified Hutchins from driving for six months, imposed a $600 fine for driving under the influence and ordered him to pay $81 court costs.