Renee Pilcher

Driver fined, fired for collision

A TRUCK driver who drove his load into the Normanby Bridge Overpass was sacked the day after the crash, Gympie Magistrates Court heard yesterday.

John Jason Nugent, 38, pleaded guilty to driving without due care and attention for the August 3 incident where an oversized steel tank he was moving hit the overpass and fell off his Mack truck.

Mr Nugent of Bond Court Kensington Grove picked up the 13-tonne load from the Port of Brisbane.

Police Prosecutor Senior Constable Lisa Manns said Nugent told police he had measured the load to be 4.8m in height and then failed to detour around the overpass even though he saw signage saying a 4.6m clearance was needed.

Snr Const Manns said Nugent attempted to travel under the overpass and didn't have any time or space to take evasive action when he realised his load wouldn't fit. When the tank hit the overpass its flange flew off.

A utility travelling south was hit by the flange, then the straps holding the tank broke and it landed on the road about one metre from a motorbike travelling behind the truck.

Nugent told police he had detoured around the Caboolture Overpass, but didn't pay attention this time.

The court heard he had been a professional driver for 10 years and was remorseful and regretful for the situation and the inconvenience it had caused.

He had carried bigger loads without any incident and was aware of the serious nature of the collision, but had no like offences and a relatively clear history.

His solicitor Matthew Post put the incident down to a “moment of madness” where Nugent was not concentrating.

Mr Post said a loss of licence would result in significant hardship for the truck driver who lived 80km away from his new depot.

“A period of disqualification would be inappropriate,” he argued.

Magistrate Neil Lavaring asked Nugent if he had been contacted by the government or insurance companies for restitution to fix the overpass, to which he replied he hadn't.

“His history is not substantial.

“It's a major stuff up isn't it...caused a lot of inconvenience. You're lucky someone didn't get killed aren't you?” Magistrate Lavaring said.

“In the circumstances I won't disqualify your licence,” he said. Nugent was fined $1500.

Gympie Times

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