Dominic Hodal faces court
TEENAGE driver Dominic Anthony Joseph Hodal made his first appearance before Toowoomba Magistrates Court yesterday on charges arising from the deaths of three of his friends in an horrific car accident at Highfields earlier this year.
With his sleeves rolled up to the elbow, Hodal, 18, stood quietly at the bar table in Court Room 3 beside his solicitor Dan Creevey who asked for an adjournment of the case to next year.
The teenager was not required to enter any pleas to the charges which included five counts of dangerous operation of a motor vehicle causing death or grievous bodily harm and one of exceeding the loading capacity of the vehicle he had been driving.
Three of Hodal’s Downlands College school mates, William Hutchison, 16, Hamish Stewart, 17, and Henry Keevers, 16, died as a result of injuries sustained in the crash on the New England Highway between Toowoomba and Highfields just before 10pm, Saturday, May 2.
Two other teenage passengers, Tim Coonan and Nick Bergen, sustained serious injuries in the crash and Tim Coonan remains in hospital.
Police claim Hodal lost control of the 1989 Ford Fairlane, overloaded with seven teenagers including two in the car’s boot. The car crashed through a tree-lined median strip and into the path of a vehicle travelling in the other direction.
The driver of the other vehicle, Robert Price, 56, was also hospitalised with injuries sustained that night.
The seventh occupant of Hodal’s vehicle, teenager Lech Blaine, escaped the tragedy virtually unscathed.
Mr Creevey told the court yesterday he was still awaiting some police material and asked that the matter be set for a committal mention date so that a full police brief of evidence could be prepared.
Magistrate Kay Ryan remanded Hodal on bail and adjourned the matter for committal mention back in the same court on February 3 next year.