Truckie on drug cops 2-year ban

WODONGA truck driver Robert Stanley Charles was caught driving his 40-tonne rig under the influence of cannabis near Dubbo in 2011.

He was charged but it took police two years to track him down and get him to court after a warrant was issued for his arrest.

Yesterday Charles, 40, of Brockley Street, appeared for sentencing in Albury Local Court and was banned from driving for two years, fined $1900 and put on two-year bonds.

His offences were driving under the influence of a drug, dangerous driving, failing to record particulars, failing to record an odometer reading and failing to record particulars of his vehicle.

He was deemed unsuitable for community service because he lives in Victoria.

Magistrate Tony Murray said a truck was like a lethal weapon.

“You are very lucky you did not come into contact with anyone else,” Mr Murray said.

Charles was driving his Kenworth loaded with pipes about 5.30pm on December 9, 2011, on the Newell Highway from Gilgandra towards Dubbo.

He went to the wrong side of the road for no apparent reason and the truck was seen swaying from side to side.

A woman travelling behind him rang triple-0 and followed for about 30 kilometres, believing it was unsafe to try to pass.

Police stopped Charles and took him to Dubbo hospital for a blood sample.

They confiscated his keys and said the truck was grounded until 6am the next day.

When police returned at that time to hand the keys over, the truck was gone and police believed Charles had a spare set.

He failed to attend court on May 23, 2012, and a warrant was issued for him.

Charles was arrested on December 7 last year and granted bail in an appearance in Albury.

Solicitor Shaun Mortimer said Charles still worked in the trucking industry, but knew he would be disqualified and was seeking other employment.

“He has had a wake-up call to this type of offending,” Mr Mortimer said.

He said Charles was stressed from work and used cannabis to alleviate it.