SAMUEL John McKenzie’s ability was impaired by drugs when the truck he was driving hit a barrier on the Hume freeway in Albury rupturing a diesel tank last year, a court heard yesterday.
McKenzie managed to regain control of the truck carrying a low loader, took the Racecourse Road off ramp and stopped the fuel leak before Albury Fire Brigade members arrived at the scene.
Police were suspicious that McKenzie may have drugs in his system after a breath test for alcohol was negative.
He was taken to the Albury hospital for blood and urine samples to be taken and they confirmed the presence of amphetamine and methamphetamine.
McKenzie, 24, of Deniliquin, appeared in Albury Local Court yesterday for sentencing on a charge of driving under the influence. But a pre-sentence report prepared on McKenzie indicated he did not want to be considered for community service because of work commitments.
Magistrate Tony Murray said it was a really bad example of this type of offence with a collision involved.
Mr Murray said people in the community would be horrified about truck drivers working under the influence of drugs.
It was suggested by Mr Murray to solicitor Allison Bruce McKenzie should be re-assessed for community service because a jail term would only be imposed as a last resort.
After brief consultation, Ms Bruce said McKenzie wanted another opportunity to be assessed for community work.
“That is the smartest decision your client has made for a long time,” Mr Murray said.
McKenzie left Somerton in Victoria about 5.30am on November 15 to transport a low loader to Newcastle.
It was about 8.40am when his truck veered towards a safety barrier and a diesel tank on the driver’s side ruptured.
He travelled about one kilometre to the Racecourse Road off ramp.
Ms Bruce said McKenzie made a makeshift dam to contain the spill.
“As a consequence of this offence, he has stopped driving trucks,” Ms Bruce said.
“He accepts he is going to lose his licence.”
Ms Bruce said McKenzie is working with his father on a property near Deniliquin.
His sentencing has been deferred until October 3 for an updated report.