Jail for 'spaced out' driving on death hwy
A GYMPIE man has been jailed for at least six months after 20km of what a magistrate called "terrifying” and "spaced out” driving on Gympie's old "death trap” highway.
Gympie Magistrates Court yesterday heard of three major and potentially fatal incidents as Garry Wayne George Taylor drove, stoned almost to the point of unconsciousness, from Pomona to Traveston on New Year's Eve, 2014.
Magistrate M Baldwin said Taylor would not be alive to face the court if a heroic semi-trailer driver had not risked his own life to avoid collision.
Taylor was affected by methamphetamine and prescription medications including morphine and diazepam (valium) and was driving on the wrong side of the highway at Pomona, when that incident occurred.
"He (the semi trailer driver) could have decided to stay on his side of the road and probably would have killed 'this idiot coming towards me.'
"But incredibly, he took the decision to risk his own life.
"There were some terrifying events. How someone was not killed is beyond me.”
Mrs Baldwin told 50-year-old Taylor he had engaged in "drugged hell-bent driving as though you owned the highway.
"The circumstances are terrible. People were reporting you on the highway and you terrified a family including children.
"A family was run off the road and another car was hit,” she said.
The police prosecutor said Taylor was swerving on the road, had slurred speech and had fallen asleep in the back of the police vehicle.
Solicitor Chris Anderson, appearing for Taylor, said Taylor had taken out a loan to pay for damage to one of the other vehicles, "instead of taking the alternative route which may have been available to him; bankruptcy.”
He said Taylor suffered pain and post traumatic stress disorder after an earlier crash in which he was seriously injured.
The court was told Taylor had a long history of offences including drug driving and driving under the influence of liquor.
"Everyone has people they love and cherish on that road and the community does not want idiots driving. They want to be protected from people like you,” she said.
Taylor had pleaded guilty to dangerous driving under the influence of drugs and was disqualified from driving for a total of three years and three months, on top of a current suspension due to expire in August 2018.
"So you will not be able to drive until nearly 2022,” Mrs Baldwin said, also sentencing him to 18 months jail, with parole after six months.
"So you will be in jail until October 27,” she said.