Drunk driver flees, chased from crash
CAR accident victims took matters into their own hands after an intoxicated Strathdickie man fled the scene in what became a vigilante justice chase.
Bradley Charles Cronin, 48, drank at Proserpine’s Prince of Wales pub on May 13 before driving his truck home.
At 6pm, Cronin’s vehicle twice struck the rear of a Toyota wagon on Shute Harbour Rd at Hamilton Plains, after Cronin drove “dangerously close” behind it for some time.
The Toyota driver called police after noticing Cronin was holding a bottle of alcohol and slurring his speech.
Cronin fled as the Toyota driver followed him on a 12km pursuit stretching through Gregory-Cannon Valley Rd and Moodys Rd.
Duty lawyer Bronwyn Hartigan said this wasn’t the “usual leaving-thescene type of case”.
“Mr Cronin was genuinely worried about his safety and made the decision to leave the scene which he regrets,” Ms Hartigan said.
“But it was incredibly reckless of the (other) vehicle to pursue him in the way he did.
“The driver and passenger pulled Mr Cronin out of his vehicle and he was punched in the face and restrained very aggressively on the ground.”
Cronin was taken to Proserpine Hospital for treatment and recorded a blood alcohol reading of 0.187 before being sent to the Whitsunday Police Station watch house, where he was also found with 36 cannabis seeds.
Medical certificates showed Cronin suffered abrasions to his arms, a laceration to his eyebrow, a swollen left jaw, an abrasion to the back of his head and bleeding to his left ear canal.
Cronin plead guilty to dangerous operation of a vehicle while intoxicated, failing to comply with the duties of a driver involved in a crash and possession of cannabis.
Chief Magistrate Orazio Rinaudo told Cronin his decision to drive home was his “first and biggest mistake”.
Cronin was sentenced to 18 months prison, wholly suspended for three years, disqualified from holding a driver’s licence for two years and fined $5000.