An Albion Park truck driver whose fully-laden semi-trailer crashed and rolled on Sussex Inlet Road has been allowed to keep his licence.
Tony Noel Johnston claimed he had swerved to avoid hitting a kangaroo carcass moments before losing control of the truck and hitting a side rail on the Tullarwalla Creek Bridge, 500 metres east of the Princes Highway, on the afternoon of August 1 last year.
The impact caused the vehicle to roll onto its side and slide along the roadway for about 100 metres, spilling a load of building waste containing asbestos.
The truck came to a rest across both the east and west-bound lanes of traffic, blocking the road.
Johnston was taken to Shoalhaven Hospital suffering multiple injuries and later transferred to St George Hospital for emergency surgery on a fractured shoulder.
Johnston was interviewed by police in November and charged with negligent driving.
He told officers that he had been travelling in a convoy of three trucks at a speed of about 60km/hr when he was forced to swerve to avoid the dead kangaroo.
However, police documents tendered in Wollongong Local Court on Tuesday challenged Johnston’s version of events, saying officers had canvassed the area and failed to find any sign of a kangaroo body.
They instead blamed the accident on speed.
“After police conducted an examination of the scene it appeared as if the accused was travelling at a speed greater than 60km/hr due to [the presence of] long skid marks leading to the impact with the bridge,” the police statement said.
“There was also a large distance between the impact on the bridge to where the...vehicle rolled onto its side.”
Johnston’s lawyer, Janine Bennett, saying her client’s company had paid $49,000 restitution for the damage caused to the bridge and the clean up costs following the crash.
Magistrate Geraldine Beattie allowed Johnston to keep his licence but ordered him to pay a fine of $900.
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