Horn saves man's life but lands him in court

A motorist has appeared in court after being "saved by the horn”.
A motorist has appeared in court after being "saved by the horn”. Patrick Woods

SURVIVAL was the best Christmas gift of all for a sleeping highway driver and the occupants of an oncoming vehicle.

Police woke the driver by sounding their car's air horn, Gympie Magistrates Court was told on Wednesday.

Ned Mackenzie Gunn pleaded guilty to driving without due care and attention on the Wide Bay Hwy at Bells Bridge on Christmas Day.

The court was told Gunn, an apprentice electrician, told police he was asleep at the wheel when they saw his car drift onto the wrong side of the highway, forcing an oncoming four-wheel-drive vehicle and trailer to take evasive action.

Police told the court on Wednesday, officers on highway duty had seen a car drift across the centreline and had sounded their police car air horn.

"An oncoming four-wheel-drive towing a trailer with two motorcycles had to take evasive action to avoid a serious head-on collision,” the police prosecutor said.

She told the court it was "a serious situation for other road users” especially as Gunn, 19, of Gympie, was already on good behaviour driving restrictions.

"I would not like to see him lose his apprenticeship, but there are serious consequences (for this offence),” she said.

Gunn told police he had been up late with friends and admitted falling asleep while driving, after having slept only three-and-a-half hours the previous night.

Gunn's solicitor told the court that Gunn had thanked police for driving him to his grandmother's house, where they ordered him to sleep for at least four hours before driving again.

Told that Gunn was grateful to police and intended to do a Roadcraft driving awareness course, Magistrate M. Bice indicated this was important.

"He's very lucky he's here today and that other people weren't killed,” Mr Bice said.

"I am quite concerned that this is a high level due care and attention offence.

"I was considering disqualifying him, but I will adjourn that case to April 6 to allow him to complete the course.

"The court will consider at that time if a period of disqualification is needed.”

Mr Bice told Gunn he still might lose his licence when he came back to the court in April, even if he had completed the course.

"I won't be the magistrate and I can't guarantee what someone else will do,” he said.

Gympie Times

Topics:  crime gympie court horn magistrates court

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