Drunk driver flees, chased from crash

Whitsunday Times - - NEWS -

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.

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