50 percent discount on fatal crash driver’s disqualification
A ROCKHAMPTON driver who crashed due to fatigue on his way home from work, killing one colleague and maiming another, has been granted a discount on his licence disqualification period.
Peter Matthias William Hills was 41 when he was sentenced in Rockhampton District Court in November 2017 for the fatal crash that occurred at Bajool about 5.30pm on August 10, 2015, as Hills drove himself and two others home from Port Alma salt flats.
The crash killed Neil Bulley, 47, and seriously injured Dayne Ladbrook, 24 at the time.
Hills had speed and cannabis in his system at the time of the crash after smoking the illicit drugs four days prior but the levels were minimal (.1mg/kg) and drugs were not deemed a significant factor in the cause of the crash.
The court heard Hills admitted to having a 'big weekend' prior to the Monday evening crash.
Read more here: Fatigue caused horror crash that killed colleague
Mr Ladbrook lost his left leg in the crash, and his left arm was amputated five months afterwards.
He was left handed and had to learn how to write again.
Mr Ladbrook told The Morning Bulletin in 2017, after Hills sentencing, his life was limited by what he could do following the crash.
"I used to enjoy working on cars but now it stresses me out as I can't do the simplest thing," he said.
"Playing with my dog is an effort."
Read more here: Horror crash victim tells: 'I can't do the simplest things'
Hills was sentenced in 2017 to three years jail, suspended after serving nine months and operational for 3.5 years.
He was also disqualified from driving for four years and one month.
Defence lawyer Rowan King was yesterday successful at getting the disqualification cut in half.
In his application, he noted Queensland legislation allowed a person to apply for the removal of a disqualification after a two-year period with a judge, when considering such an application, to take into consideration the defendant's character, conduct subsequent to the order, the nature of the offence and any other circumstances of the case.
Mr King submitted that since his release from prison, Hills no longer used illicit drugs and regularly attended Narcotics Anonymous meetings along with undergoing trauma counselling.
He said Hills had rehabilitated by way of continued studies in engineering with CQUniversity which he was expected to complete by the end of 2020, and continued work at Port Alma.
Mr King said Hills thought about the 2015 events every day and had the heavy burden of knowing he caused the death of a colleague.
The court heard police prosecution, who were the respondents in the driver disqualification removal application, neither opposed nor consented to the application.
Judge Michael Burnett accepted the submissions by Mr King and granted a 50 per cent discount of the original disqualification which was set to expire on December 16, 2021.
The new expiration of the disqualification period is September 1, 2020.