Court hears driver in fatal crash was tired and distracted

THE driver of a truck, which collided with a ute and killed a 34-year-old Moura father of three, had asked if someone else was available to do his shift because he was feeling unwell.

Bundaberg man Steven Robert Bourke, 32, plead not guilty to dangerous operation of a motor vehicle causing death following the crash in the early hours of January 7, 2012 which claimed the life of Daniel Roderick McLaughlan.

During the trial which began in the Bundaberg District Court yesterday, the court heard Mr McLaughlan was travelling west along Gin Gin Rd to meet a friend in Bundaberg when Bourke, a truck driver for Rum City Foods, allegedly crossed on to the wrong side of the road in his refrigerated milk truck.

In her opening address Crown prosecutor Shauna Rankine said there was no dispute that Bourke was operating the vehicle which collided with and killed Mr McLaughlan. She said it was up to the jury to determine whether they were satisfied the manner in which Bourke drove was dangerous.

Ms Rankine said the prosecution would allege Bourke was tried, unwell and distracted.

"He wasn't in a fit state to drive," she said.

Ms Rankine said as the driver of a heavy vehicle Bourke was aware he must take extra care but he had failed to keep a proper look out.

But defence lawyer Kate McMahon said while a lot of what happened was not disputed, what was disputed was whether Bourke's driving was dangerous.

She said the defence would argue it was an accident and Bourke couldn't have perceived the consequences and no one else in the same position would have either.

Ms McMahon said during the trial Bourke would give his own version of events.

Among the first witnesses to take the stand was Bourke's boss Scott McIntyre.

Mr McIntyre said on the morning of the crash he could tell Bourke wasn't feeling 100% and Bourke had asked if there was someone else who could do the shift.

Ms Rankine asked Mr McIntyre if he told Bourke there was no one else to do the shift but Mr McIntyre said "no" and that he told Bourke it would take time but he could call in someone else.

Mr McIntyre said Bourke told him he would be all right so he told Bourke to take his time and to stop if he needed.

The trial continues before Judge Fleur Kingham today.

Topics:  bundaberg district court fatal crashes traffic crashes