Highway driver swap ends in crash
TRYING to swap drivers while still in motion on the Bruce Hwy was a foolish decision but not worthy of having a criminal conviction recorded, a court has found.
Mine worker Stacey Leanne Parker's Toyota Coaster bus left the southbound lanes of a 110kmh section at Meridan Plains about 6.15am on September 22, 2015.
Parker, who was 34 at the time, and another woman were in the front and a third person was asleep on a bed in the back of the bus.
The van crashed into a centre medium culvert, causing the sleeping passenger to be thrown about the cabin.
She suffered compressed fractures to her back and some broken ribs.
Parker, who lived in Brisbane at the time, was charged with dangerous operation of a vehicle after she told police she and the other woman had tried to swap drivers while in motion.
The other woman held onto the steering wheel while Parker tried to move out of the driver's seat and behind the other woman.
As this happened, the vehicle was driven off the road.
Parker pleaded guilty to those facts when she fronted Caloundra Magistrates Court a little more than two months later.
Her solicitor explained Parker had worked in the mining industry for 10 years and had a number of tickets, including a multi-combination licence which allowed her to drive very heavy machinery.
The court also heard Parker accepted it was a very foolish decision for which she was sincerely remorseful and embarrassed.
Magistrate Stephanie Tonkin fined Parker $1800 and disqualified her from driving for six months.
Ms Tonkin told Parker a traffic conviction would be recorded.
But, unbeknownst to Parker at the time, a criminal conviction was recorded.
Parker learned of it in April last year when it came up on a National Police Check.
She appealed in June last year against the recording of a conviction, stating the mining industry had a strict policy that employees with criminal convictions would not be granted jobs which would cause financial hardship.
Maroochydore District Court Judge Gary Long allowed the appeal late last month and ordered that no conviction be recorded.