Apprentice electrician put on bonds, fined over accident

Nicholas Alexander Keith outside court.

Nicholas Alexander Keith outside court.

WODONGA apprentice electrician Nicholas Alex-ander Keith was just three days shy of regaining his suspended driver’s licence when he had an accident near Gerogery last year in which one of his passengers was seriously injured.

In Albury Local Court yesterday magistrate Tony Murray told Keith, 22, the incident was aggravated by the fact he should not have been driving because his licence had been suspended for speeding.

Keith appeared for sentencing on charges of negligent driving causing grievous bodily harm and driving when his licence was suspended.

“In my view, the most appropriate penalty would have been a community service order,” Mr Murray said.

But Keith is ineligible for the order because he lives in Victoria.

Instead he was put on 18-month bonds and fined $400 on each charge.

Solicitor Mark Cronin said the passenger suffered a fractured collarbone, facial injuries with residual scarring and a broken nose.

Mr Cronin said Keith had been travelling too quickly on a dirt road and had lost control of the vehicle.

The court had previously been told in tendered facts that Keith was driving a four-wheel-drive when it overturned last October.

He drove a Suzuki Vitara along Winchester Lane about 12.10am on October 5 with four passengers.

They were about 600 metres north of Gerogery Road when Keith lost control and the vehicle fishtailed several times.

The wheels struck a washed-out drainage rut and the vehicle overturned.

One passenger was trapped for a short time before being released by the others.

He had suffered facial injuries and was bleeding heavily.

Keith rang his mother for help and another passenger called triple-0, but had trouble explaining their location so police were advised.

The four passengers were put in Keith’s mother’s vehicle and she met an ambulance on Gerogery Road near the Norske Skog mill.

The passengers were assessed with three transported to hospital by ambulance and another receiving treatment for cuts to his knuckles.

Attempts were made by police to contact Keith who had stayed with the vehicle, but he could not be located.

Additional police arrived to patrol surrounding roads.

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