News

Truck driver found not guilty of causing fatal crash

Scenes from the accident at the Apple Tree Creek hall intersection on the Bruce Hwy this morning. Photo Brittany Cook / Isis Town & Country
Scenes from the accident at the Apple Tree Creek hall intersection on the Bruce Hwy this morning. Photo Brittany Cook / Isis Town & Country Brittany Cook

THE brother of a man killed in a crash on the Bruce Hwy has accused Lindsay Brothers transport company of "playing Russian roulette" with drivers' lives.

Former Lindsay Brothers truck driver Maxwell Rice, 56, was found not guilty in the Bundaberg District Court of dangerous operation causing death in relation to the November 21, 2012 crash at Apple Tree Creek.

Francis Wanrooy's brother Tristan was killed when the ute in which he was a passenger, was driven into and over by Mr Rice's truck.

During the trial Mr Rice gave evidence that the brakes had failed.

Following the not guilty verdict Mr Wanrooy said while it was not the outcome his family were after, they were happy the trial was over.

"We know Mr Rice was involved with the actual accident but it was Lindsay Brothers who knew about the brakes, who knew that truck was faulty and wasn't 100% roadworthy and they are the ones who put it on the road," he said.

"It's not up to the drivers to make sure these vehicles are 100% roadworthy, it's up to Lindsay Brothers.

"So I have one question for Lindsay Bothers. When are you going to take responsibility for your actions?

"How many vehicles are on the road right now that are unroadworthy, just playing Russian roulette with everyone's lives?

"We just want Lindsay Brothers to take responsibility, not once have we received an apology or any flowers regarding this matter."

Mr Wanrooy said his family was undecided at this stage whether they would seek further action against the company.

Defence lawyer Edwina Rowan made a comment on Mr Rice's behalf as her client left the court with his family.

"Mr Rice is glad this is over for both families and his deepest sympathy is with the family of Mr Wanrooy," she said.  

In closing arguments, defence barrister James Godbolt had told the jury that "what we know is that the prime mover seized at the time - its brakes were in bad shape".

"Was it his regular truck? No, he'd never driven it before," he said

"Was he allowed to inspect the brakes? No.

"There is a big difference between thinking something is not quite right here, and being aware of what defects were actually in play."

Mr Godbolt said in order to find Rice guilty the jury had to be satisfied Rice was aware that the truck shouldn't have been on the road.

He told the jury they might think Lindsay Transport should be the one on trial.

"But you don't take that out on Mr Rice," he said.

Lindsay Transport was contacted for comment but did not return the NewsMail's calls.

Topics:  court, crash, editors picks, police, traffic



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