Riverina Highway crash sees Bonegilla soldier in court

Joel Daniel Bickerdike will be sentenced on two charges on November 26.

Joel Daniel Bickerdike will be sentenced on two charges on November 26.

A BONEGILLA soldier involved in a serious accident on the Riverina Highway last year will be sentenced on November 26 after the preparation of a pre-sentence report and updated medical reports on three passengers who were seriously injured.

One of the passengers in Joel Daniel Bickerdike’s car suffered significant spinal injuries and was flown to the Alfred Hospital in Melbourne.

Bickerdike, 23, of Latchford Barracks, has pleaded guilty in Albury Local Court to charges of negligent driving causing grievous bodily harm to his passengers and mid-range drink-driving.

Five other charges were withdrawn by police prosecutor Sgt Rowan Harris.

Bickerdike was driving his Ford sedan east along the Riverina Highway about 10.15pm on June 26 last year.

He was unable to negotiate a right-hand bend and his car began to leave the road, with his left tyres hitting gravel.

The car went towards a large culvert, “tripped” at the base of the cul-vert and went into a series of rolls through a fence and into a paddock.

Two rear seat passengers were thrown out of the car.

It was a little less than three hours later when Bickerdike rang triple-0 on his mobile phone seeking assistance at 12.57am.

Police believe all the occupants lost consciousness after the crash.

Ambulance and police officers attended the accident and a crime scene was established.

Bickerdike and his passengers were taken to the Albury hospital.

A blood sample was taken from him at 3.10am and a pharmacologist from Sydney indicated Bickerdike’s blood alcohol level would have been not less than 0.082 when the accident happened.

A reconstruction analysis was done which showed Bickerdike must have been travelling at least 113km/h, which was more than 30km/h above the speed limit for that section of road.

A mechanical examination of the vehicle showed it had no defects.

Closed circuit footage was obtained from the Kinross Hotel which showed Bickerdike’s car leaving there about 10.13pm.

The distance from the hotel to the scene of the crash was six kilometres.