Bizarre behaviour before horror crash
A routine traffic stop turned to tragedy for four police officers when a perfect storm of drugs, speed and bizarre behaviour collided on a Melbourne freeway.
Nearly a year after senior constables Lynette Taylor, Kevin King and Constables Glen Humphris and Joshua Prestney died on the Eastern Freeway, the man who killed them has been sentenced.
The group were killed after they stopped to pull over Richard Pusey, who was clocked speeding at 149km per hour in his black Porsche. He was urinating on the side of the road and avoided being hit.
Killer driver Mohinder Singh was jailed on Wednesday for 22 years in the Supreme Court of Victoria after he admitted to four counts of culpable driving causing death and six others including drug offences.
"Their deaths are entirely unnecessary and could have been avoided," Justice Paul Coghlan said on Wednesday.
He viewed footage of the fatal crash and said "it is chilling".
"The police officers had no hope."
For months before the fatal crash, the 48-year-old truck driver's drug use and delusions were spiralling out of control.
He was injecting ice and selling the drug from the cab of his 20-tonne truck while working shifts for Connect Logistics.
One associate used ice and GHB with Singh for between 12 to 14 hours at the Dandenong Hotel three days before the crash.
The drugs affected the pair to the extent another associate said Singh "couldn't even speak".
Others noticed he wasn't sleeping and was becoming delusional. The truck driver was telling people a witch had cursed him and he was seeing "stick figures" around.
His son found him "disorientated" outside their Cranbourne home the day before the crash and Singh was pointing across the road towards a "witch" who was "messing with his head".
There was no one there.
It was also revealed on Wednesday the truckie believed he could see ghosts since he was a child and once held a seance as a teenager where "knives were flying through the air" and a table moved.
One of his co-workers noticed he failed to reverse into a dock and told their bosses Singh wasn't fit to drive.
The colleague told him to see a doctor but when Singh raised the issue with a supervisor before he started his shift he was shut down.
"OK but Steve saids (sic) I'm not fit to drive," Singh said in a text message the day of the crash.
"Steve is NOT a doctor," his supervisor Simiona Tuteru replied.
The 49-year-old supervisor, Simiona Tuteru has been charged with four counts of manslaughter in relation to the crash.
Instead of taking time off a drug-addled and sleep-deprived Singh turned up for his shift at the Lyndhurst depot about 3.30pm.
For 44 minutes, Singh and Mr Tuteru held a "prayer ritual" before he signed a fitness-to-drive form and hopped in his truck to deliver frozen chickens to Thomastown.
"What my client seems uncontroversially to have been hearing is: 'I want you to drive, you are now healed, now take those chickens to Thomastown,'" Mr Morrissey previously told the court.
But in his sentencing remarks Justice Paul Coghlan said the decision to drive was Singh's alone.
"You drove to keep your job. That decision was selfish," he said.
However he noted the driver was "reluctant" to get behind the wheel on the day of the crash.
Singh had only rested for five hours in the 72 hours before the horror incident but felt compelled to keep working, the court was told.
His level of sleep deprivation was such that it was close to a driver who was six times the drink-driving limit or a blood alcohol reading of 0.3, according to an expert.
Despite his sleep deprivation and drug use Singh left the depot about 4.52pm and stopped just six minutes later to deal ice to an associate from his truck.
At the same time, the truck driver left the depot, police officers Senior Constable Lynette Taylor and First Constable Glen Humphris spotted a black Porsche speeding on the Eastern Freeway.
The duo pulled over the driver, Richard Pusey, after clocking him speeding at 149km/h in a 100km/h zone.
They carried out an alcohol breath test and an oral drug test on Mr Pusey as he sat on the railing on the edge of the road.
His alcohol level was below the limit but the drug test later confirmed MDMA and cannabis in his system.
Senior Constable Taylor turned on her body worn camera at 5.06pm and requested back-up. Two more officers - Senior Constable Kevin King and Constable Joshua Prestney - arrived at the scene half an hour later.
The four officers were standing outside their cars in the emergency lane on the passenger side near the railing while Mr Pusey went to urinate on the side of the road.
While they were discussing the Porsche driver, Singh's prime mover was spotted swerving between lanes on the freeway.
"This dude's going to f***ing kill someone," a witness who was on the road told his mother.
Slightly over a minute after Senior Constable King and Constable Prestney arrived at the scene, Singh's prime mover veered off the road at 5.36pm.
The truck driver ploughed into the officers and data showed he didn't try to brake until it was too late.
Singh got out the truck and was seen wailing at the scene.
But while others rushed to help the officers on the side of the road, the Porsche driver pulled out his phone.
Mr Pusey walked "slowly and purposefully" around the collision and filmed the scene, prosecutors told the judge at his County Court plea hearing last month.
He pleaded guilty to speeding, drug offences and the rare charge of outraging public decency for filming and making vulgar comments at the scene.
Mr Pusey was "focusing and zooming in on the dead or dying police members at a close distance", the court was told.
Pusey zoomed in on the face and body of Senior Constable Taylor as she lay "moaning" at the crash site, the court was told.
"Absolutely amazing," Pusey said as he filmed the dying woman.
He continued to walk around the scene, zooming on the injuries of the other officers and the damaged vehicles.
"That is f***ing justice … That is f***ing amazing," Pusey said as he filmed the destroyed police vehicles.
He described one of the dead officers as being "smashed" and said "you f***ing c***s, you c***s, I guess I'll be getting a f***ing Uber home, huh".
Other witnesses at the scene implored Pusey to help but instead he shrugged and said: "They're dead."
The public condemned his actions and even his legal team received death threats, the hearing was told.
"He is probably the most hated man in Australia," Judge Trevor Wraight said of Pusey.
However the judge labelled the Porsche driver's actions "bizarre" but noted he was not taunting the police officers, which the prosecutors did not dispute.
The court was told Mr Pusey had a prior criminal history including traffic priors, stalking, using a carriage service to menace and he was kicked off a flight at Brisbane for aggressive and abusive behaviour.
Mr Pusey's defence lawyer said his client was ashamed of his actions and apologised to the family of the officers for the "horrible things" he said.
"He does apologise for the distress he caused to the families," lawyer Dermot Dann QC said.
During the sentence for Singh on Wednesday the justice noted the "terrible saga" the families had endured was not quite over.
"It will not end today because we know that there is at least one other person charged with offences arising out of the deaths of your loved one," Justice Coghlan said.
He said the coverage of the tragedy had shocked the "public conscious".
"The unnecessary loss of four serving police officers simply going about their duty is a matter of huge community sorrow and regret," the justice said.
Family members in court turned to watch Singh as he was led past them from the dock with his head bowed after his 22-year sentence was handed down.
Family members including Senior Constable Kevin King's widow Sharron Mackenzie, Constable Glen Humphris partner Todd Robinson, Senior Constable Lynette Taylor's husband Stuart Schulze gathered outside the court.
The parents of Constable Joshua Prestney, Belinda and Andrew stood shoulder to shoulder to read a short statement.
"Even though justice has now been served in relation to the actual collision, no amount of punishment can replace the loss of our loved ones and the missing place at our tables that will be felt by us for the rest of our lives," Andrew Prestney said.
He thanked members of the public for their support, the emergency services and the police members who had worked to bring justice to their loved ones.
"We are consoled by the fact that our four will not be forgotten as we continue to carry them in our hearts."
Originally published as Bizarre behaviour before horror crash