Asleep at the wheel

Whitsunday Times - - LOCAL NEWS -

A PROSER­PINE man who suf­fered a brain haem­or­rhage and bro­ken ribs in a sin­gle-ve­hi­cle ac­ci­dent on the Bruce High­way ear­lier this year was lucky to es­cape with his life and a $550 fine.

Peter Gavin Rud­dell ap­peared in the Proser­pine Mag­is­trate’s Court on Mon­day where he pleaded guilty to a charge of driv­ing with­out due care.

Po­lice ar­rived at the scene of the ac­ci­dent on the high­way at Blooms­bury at about 3.25pm on Jan­uary 17. Rud­dell and his girl­friend, who also suf­fered bro­ken ribs and a lac­er­a­tion to her arm, were al­ready be­ing cared for by paramedics.

Po­lice pros­e­cu­tor El­iz­a­beth Smith said a wit­ness re­ported see­ing Rud­dell’s car veer into the on­com­ing lane where it ran off the road hit­ting a culvert and be­com­ing air­borne. The car rolled three times be­fore com­ing to rest on the ease­ment. Ms Smith said po­lice were told Rud­dell had fallen asleep at the wheel.

She said the 22-year-old ad­mit­ted he’d been out drink­ing with friends un­til about 12.30am but had slept un­til about 8am that day. She said he ad­mit­ted black­ing out about 200 me­tres be­fore the crash but his blood sam­ples tested neg­a­tive for the pres­ence of al­co­hol or drugs.

In court on Mon­day Rud­dell had noth­ing to say in his de­fence other than to ask mag­is­trate Haydn St­jern­qvist not to dis­qual­ify him.

On hear­ing the ex­tent of the in­juries sus­tained in the crash, Mr St­jern­vist re­marked on what could have hap­pened.

“You’re lucky aren’t you,” he said, mak­ing no or­ders about Rud­dell’s li­cence.

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