OWEN Richard Allen sped out of muddy roadworks on a side street onto Wodonga’s Thomas Mitchell Drive, allegedly causing a fatal accident a court was told yesterday.
His burnouts and fishtailing as he exited Docking Street forced David Greig, who was driving a LandCruiser west, to try to avoid Allen.
Mr Greig swerved into the path of an Isuzu truck, causing the head-on collision that killed the truck’s driver, Gabby Pirpinias, 57.
The events of almost three years ago were outlined in the County Court in Wangaratta yesterday on the first day of Allen’s expected three-week trial.
Prosecutor Andy Moore said police had at first assumed the smash on August 14, 2010 involved only two vehicles.
But later that evening children who had been walking in Docking Street told them their version of events.
Mr Moore said Mr Greig had suffered serious injuries after he swerved to the wrong side of Thomas Mitchell Drive at 6.05pm, just as darkness arrived.
Allen, 27, of Chiltern, has pleaded not guilty to driving in a manner causing death, driving in a manner causing serious injury, failing to stop and failing to render assistance.
Defence barrister Philip Skehan told the jury it would be argued the children — aged 10, 11, 12 and 13 — were not reliable witnesses.
“They’re in the light (of Docking Street) looking into the dark — as you know, that can affect vision,” he said.
Mr Skehan said it would be made clear that Mr Greig had most likely fallen asleep moments before swerving to the wrong side of the road.
That was because of a combination of alcohol — Mr Moore earlier indicated Mr Greig had drunk about two-thirds of a glass of wine before the crash — and prescription drugs, including one he took to medicate “restless legs”.
But Mr Moore said the only prescription drug Mr Greig had taken was about 9pm the previous day, long enough to rule out the theory of a momentary loss of consciousness.
Mr Moore said Mrs Pirpinias, of 57, of Beveridge, near Melbourne, was driving east in Thomas Mitchell Drive and Mr Greig approached from the other direction.
Mr Greig, who had no memory of the crash, swerved to the extent that he was completely in Mrs Pirpinias’ lane when they hit head-on. Both were driving well under the 60km/h limit.
Mr Moore said Allen was in the driveway of a Docking Street house, 120 metres from the Thomas Mitchell Drive intersection, when the children walked past.
He argued with the youngsters, wrongly accusing them of spitting on his car.
Mr Moore said the children then saw Allen get into a ute and speed off, pulling out in front of Mr Greig.
The trial before Judge Julian Leckie continues today.