EXPOSED: 14 of Gympie’s worst drivers on the roads in 2020
With Christmas and New Year’s on the horizon there is no shortage of high traffic, parties, and subsequently more need for safety on Gympie’s roads.
Out of 21 crashes throughout the region in December last year, 12 ended with at least one person in hospital.
At this time of year, Queensland Police Service are encouraging drivers to remember the fatal five of speeding, drink driving, seatbelts, drug driving, medication and driving, fatigue and distractions, to keep yourself and loved ones safe.
As people are urged to stay safe on our roads, we look back at some of the drivers who risked lives of themselves and others on the region’s roads this year.
Gympie man leads police on high speed chase through Maryborough
Incredibly stupid, dreadful and dangerous were just some of the words used to describe a Gympie man who led police on a high speed chase through Maryborough.
Just before midnight on April 25, police patrolling in Tinana were forced into a late night chase as a car they tried to pull over on a highway off ramp sped away from them.
The driver, Callum Robert McClay, 21, “took off’ when police approached his stopped car, and after they activated lights and sirens and indicated for him to pull over, he sped up.
For 300m the police chased McClay as he reached speeds of 146km/h in a 60 zone, a Gympie court heard this year.
McClay was fined $6672.50, the minimum penalty for the offence, and he was disqualified from having a licence for two years.
38 demerit points: Is this 19yo Gympie’s worst driver?
A Gympie teenager who racked up an unbelievable 38 demerit points has been slammed as one of the worst driver’s a magistrate has ever seen.
Riley Colin Carkeet, 19, was pulled over on October 4 by a police patrol, whose checks revealed he had been driving while on a suspended licence, racking up too many demerit points.
He believed he had received a letter saying he was able to drive from September, and claimed he did not know he was still suspended, and that his parents would never let him drive had they known.
Magistrate Callaghan said the mandatory sentence for Carkeet was a six months driving disqualification, nothing less or more.
Carkeet was also fined $450 and no conviction was recorded.
Driver responsible for fatal Gympie car crash enters plea
The man who caused the Long Flat crash that killed Gympie region cafe manager Karen Zahner in January 2018 pleaded guilty in court.
Joshua-James Cameron Langley, 29, appeared in custody in the Gympie District Court on one charge of dangerous driving causing death or grievous bodily harm while adversely affected by an intoxicating substance on January 23.
Reports at the time indicated Mrs Zahner, 59, was killed instantly and her husband, Bill, 64, left critically injured in the head-on impact.
The Gympie region community was left devastated by Mrs Zahner’s death.
Drink driving landscaper drove ute on wrong side of road
From drink driving on the wrong side of the road to being found with cannabis and failing to appear in court, Gary Allen Shipp has racked up a fair number of offences this year.
Shipp pleaded guilty to all four charges in Gympie Magistrates Court.
Police prosecutor Melissa Campbell said police were stationed at a Southside intersection on July 8 at 3.20pm and saw a ute travelling on the wrong side of the road.
The court heard Shipp made the decision to drive after a day of drinking at a friend’s house and at the pub, blowing over the limit on the test.
Shipp was convicted and fined a total of $800 for all offences and was disqualified from driving for one month.
Convictions were recorded.
Drunk Gympie teacher fled after crashing car in embankment
A schoolteacher who crashed her car down an embankment and then fled the scene was found to be driving with a blood alcohol concentration more than twice the legal limit.
Police were called to a single car crash at The Dawn, where it was reported the driver of a Subaru had driven off the road into an embankment, and appeared to be intoxicated.
The driver, 51-year-old Rebecca Sarah Creighton, left the scene and was found at home by police who traced the car’s registration to her.
Due to a previous driving offence conviction, Creighton was disqualified from driving or holding a licence for the mandatory period of one year, and fined $1000.
Hoon driving mum’s car tried to outrun cops, now facing jail
A 20-year-old Gympie man has lost his licence for three years and has the threat of jail time hanging over his head after he tried to evade police while driving without a licence.
A day trip to Rainbow Beach ended in a police chase for Alec Gordon Richardson, after police caught him driving recklessly while on a suspended licence.
On March 7, this year police patrolling the area saw Richardson fishtailing and speeding in a beachfront carpark on Rainbow Beach Road, and tried to pull him over.
Richardson had previously lost his licence in September last year for driving with a blood alcohol limit of 0.024, and was caught drink driving again on October 12, last year with a reading of 0.103.
Richardson was sentenced to six months in prison, released on immediate parole and disqualified from driving or holding a licence for three years.
DRUNK AND DISQUALIFIED: Dad wrecks son’s car during spin
A 39-year-old arborist took his son’s car for a “test drive” while drunk and disqualified, crashing it into a street pole in Glastonbury and blowing nearly four times the legal limit.
Zeph Reidy Kelly pleaded guilty in Gympie Magistrates Court on Thursday to driving while disqualified and driving while under the influence.
On August 24, Kelly was ‘spinning’ the wheels of his son’s Holden Sedan on a driveway before making his way onto the road and crashing into a street sign at the intersection of Glastonbury Road.
Sgt Campbell said Kelly completed a roadside breath test and blew a reading of 0.198.
Kelly was fined $1200 for driving under the influence and sentenced to six months jail, suspended for three years, for driving while disqualified.
He will not be able to obtain a licence for 40 months, cumulative to his previous disqualifications, convictions were recorded.
‘Blind’ drunk driver rolls car, tells police it wasn’t him
A drink driver who blew more than three times the legal limit lied to police about being the driver after he was found injured in bushes several metres from a rolled car.
On September 11, police responded to a car rollover at Monkland, after a woman who saw a car speeding and drifting past her house heard a crash moments later, and assumed it was the same car.
The driver, Bradley James Smith, was found in the bush, 10m from the crash site, and told responders his friend “Steve” had been driving the car, before being taken to the hospital for treatment.
Police told Smith the evidence pointed to him being the driver, and although Smith maintained his version of events, he said he was “blind” drunk and could not provide any other details about the man he claimed was driving.
The court heard Smith became aggressive when police tried to test his blood alcohol concentration in hospital, but blood samples taken with a warrant revealed Smith had a BAC of 0.174, more than three times the legal limit.
Mr Callaghan said aside from a guilty plea, Smith’s co-operation “hadn’t been high”, and fined him $1000 and disqualified him from driving or holding a licence for seven months.
Bruce Hwy hoon filmed himself burning his licence suspension
A Gunalda man who was caught doing burnouts on the Bruce Highway had posted footage online of himself burning documents stating he had a medical suspension on his licence at the time.
On May 5, Billy-Joe Carter, 39, was caught doing burnouts and speeding through a stop sign as he left a service station in Gunalda and pulled on to the highway.
Police received complaints of dangerous driving and were able to identify Carter as the driver through security footage from the service station.
When police spoke to Carter he told them he “often” did burnouts in the car and was aware of the suspension letter.
Magistrate Chris Callaghan fined Carter $350 and disqualified him from driving for two months.
Drink driver flees scene of scary Gympie region crash
A YOUNG drink driver fled the scene of a violent crash out of fear after losing control of his car and sending it into trees on a steep embankment, Gympie Magistrates Court heard.
Thomas Lawrence Young, 25, fled the scene after police were called about a crash on Sandy Creek Rd at Veteran just after 4am on December 22.
Officers arrived and found Young’s red Holden Commodore sedan had sustained extensive damage in the crash, where the road intersected with North Deep Creek Rd.
Prosecuting Sergeant Lisa Manns told the court officers noticed “lengthy tire marks” starting south of the intersection, continuing to the wrong side of the road before stopping where the car left the road.
He was fined $800 and disqualified from driving for four months, a conviction was not recorded.
Gympie mum rolled car after getting behind the wheel drunk
A WOMAN whose car rolled three times on the Old Bruce Highway earlier this year was found to be drink driving at the time, after a blood test more than two hours later revealed she was still over the limit.
On March 2, Marlena May Alway, 41, was driving on the Old Bruce Highway at Kybong, when she saw a kangaroo on the road and swerved to avoid it.
Alway lost control and crashed the car, which rolled three times before landing on its side just before 6pm.
Alway was flown to the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital with significant injuries, and a blood test at about 8pm revealed she had a blood alcohol concentration of 0.078 per cent.
She injured her neck in the accident, and had to wear a neck halo for three months while she recovered.
Magistrate Chris Callaghan fined Alway $150 and disqualified her from driving for one month.
No conviction was recorded.
Disqualified learner blows nearly four times limit, does burnout
BEFORE blowing nearly four times the legal limit, a disqualified learner driver was seen by police performing multiple burnouts in the Gympie CBD and blocking other vehicles on the road.
Luke Wayne Hunter, a scaffolder from New South Wales pleaded guilty to all charges at Gympie Magistrates Court.
Police prosecutor Melissa Campbell said police were performing patrols at 7:30pm on July 3, in the Gympie CBD when their attention was drawn to a Ford station wagon creating a large cloud of smoke.
Sergeant Campbell said Hunter then performed a second burnout directly in front of police.
A roadside breath test showed a reading of 0.192, nearly four times the legal alcohol limit.
Hunter’s license was disqualified for nine months and he was fined a total of $1500.
Convictions were recorded.
Drank a 4 pack of JD then drove to the cop station
A Gympie business owner was fined $800 and lost his license after downing a four-pack of Jack Daniels and then driving to the police station.
On January 19, Samuel Lawrenson Wilson, who owns Sam‘s Car Detailing, downed a four a four-pack of Jack Daniels after a family dispute that involved police.
Samuel Wilson faced the Gympie Magistrates Court charged with drink driving.
Later that night the police called and asked him to come to the station.
Wilson told the court he drove himself there after drinking without thinking about it.
Police noticed he was glassy-eyed and slurring his speech; a breath test returned a reading of 0.174 and he was arrested.
Drove almost four times the limit, wiped out own bumper
Kevin Clifton John Taylor, 37, was charged with drink driving after being caught at almost four times the legal limit.
On June 20 Taylor hit a kerb while driving in a Gympie street; causing his front bumper to fall off and police arrived at the scene to find him and his elderly parents organising a tow truck.
Taylor, a father of three and cabinet-maker, was breathalysed and caught with a blood-alcohol level in the high range, at 0.196.
He was fined $1000 and disqualified from driving for nine months.