Waste truck driver guilty of crash death
A JJ Richards waste truck driver found guilty of dangerous driving causing death was most likely distracted by something inside his cabin or outside, a Toowoomba District Court judge found.
Judge David Reid said Donald Shane Bosworth, 52, could have been distracted by a number of things - a mobile phone, a radio.
However, Judge Reid said, in his view, "this is something more than momentary inattention".
"The driver of a heavy vehicle like that has special responsibilities," he said.
The court heard Bosworth had been driving the 12-tonne truck east on North St about 11am, October 30, 2012.
After travelling under the rail bridge near the Mort St intersection, he was heading east when his truck veered across the road into the path of a Ford Festiva sedan heading west on North St.
The Festiva's driver, Michael White, 50, had tried to get his car as far left as possible but couldn't avoid the collision, the truck pushing his car into a power pole before continuing on through a fence and into a tree.
Mr White died at the scene.
Bosworth pleaded not guilty, claiming he had no memory of from the time of driving under the rail bridge until after the accident.
Judge Reid said he thought Bosworth had, and still had, memory of the event.
The jury took just over four hours to reach a verdict of guilty.
Bosworth had no previous criminal history and served in the army for 20 years, reaching the rank of sergeant.
However, his traffic history included two offences of driving while using a mobile phone and in the months leading up to the tragedy he had been counselled by his employer for driving indiscretions including tail-gating and driving erratically on the Warrego Hwy, just over a week before the accident, for which he received a written warning.
The court heard Bosworth had an excellent work record and he and his wife were involved in important family community work.
Judge Reid said such sentences were difficult and consideration had to be given to Mr White's family who had been significantly affected by his tragic death.
He sentenced Bosworth to two years jail, the term suspended after having served eight months, and disqualified him from driving for one year.