South Burnett drivers caught under the influence
ON AVERAGE, 55 people are killed and 550 are seriously injured each year on Queensland roads as a result of drink driving.
Drink driving is one of the major killers on Queensland roads.
In response to this, the Queensland Government has announced a number of drink driving reforms that will be rolled out by the end of 2021.
By naming and shaming offenders who are proven guilty of driving offences in court, the South Burnett Times aims to keep our region’s roads safer by discouraging drivers from getting behind the wheel while under the influence of drugs and alcohol.
‘Out of character’
A MAN has told the Kingaroy magistrate his drug driving was “out of character for him”.
Christopher Knezevic pleaded guilty to driving while a relevant drug was in his system during Kingaroy Magistrates Court on July 29, 2019.
The court heard he had been caught by police on Norman St, Kingaroy at 9.45am on May 8.
“My traffic history isn’t the best, but my partner and kids have straightened me out,” Knezevic said.
He was convicted and fined $250 and his regular licence has been disqualified for two months.
Magistrate Louisa Pink issued Knezevic with a restricted licence so he could continue working.
Drug driving, no licence
Douglas James Dinham pleaded guilty to two charges in Kingaroy Magistrates Court on July 29, 2019
The 28-year-old man was driving along Doonkuna St at 8pm on June 2 when he pulled over for Kingaroy police.
They found he did not hold a current licence and had four grams of marijuana on him.
Dinham was convicted and fined $300 for possessing dangerous drugs and $200 for driving while his licence was suspended.
His licence was disqualified for one month.
Mid-range drink driving through Wooroolin
A young driver, 22-year-old Brodie Wilson was intercepted while driving through Wooroolin on the Bunya Highway on January 11, 2019.
Wilson was found to have a blood alcohol reading of 0.102, which is considered in the middle alcohol limit.
He pleaded guilty, was fined $450 and had his licence disqualified for three months.
Drug driving on the highway
“If you can’t drive you’ve got to tell your mates you can’t drive.”
This is what Magistrate Louisa Pink told Nathan Lane after he told her he was caught drug driving while running an errand for a friend.
“Cannabis stays in your system for a long time, at least a month or more,” Magistrate Pink said.
The 28-year-old was caught driving while marijuana was still in his system at 12.30pm on June 19, 2019 along the Bunya Hway near Benair.
He was convicted and fined $400 for drug driving in Kingaroy Magistrate Court on July 29.
Lane’s licence was disqualified for four months.
A drink driver’s licence was disqualified for only one month due to “exceptional circumstances” in August last year.
Tyler James Street pleaded guilty to driving over the general alcohol limit, but not over the middle alcohol limit during Kingaroy Magistrates Court on July 29, 2019.
The driver had a blood alcohol reading of 0.09 when he was stopped by police on June 29.
Street told the court his partner had recently been diagnosed with cancer.
He was also fined $350 for the offence.
All convictions were recorded.
Man refuses breath test in own backyard
Murgon man, Andrew Kleis pleaded guilty to two charges in Kingaroy Magistrates Court on April 15, 2019.
Police prosecutor Barry Stevens said neighbours had called police at 1.30pm on March 30.
The officers went to the Jeffery St address and found the man revving the engine of the vehicle in the yard.
The court heard the officers had given him a roadside direction to give a breath analysis.
He refused and was subsequently taken back to the station.
“Drink driving can occur in ‘elsewhere,’ it can be in a yard, and that’s where he was caught,” Sgt Stevens said.
Defence lawyer Chris Campbell said on the day the neighbours were concerned he would drive after drinking, despite the gate of the backyard being closed.
“He wasn’t going to do anything sinister,” he said.
“He was simply warming up the engine to prep for work.”
Mr Campbell said the 43-year-old man consumed an average of three bottles a day.
“He is to make his way to Brisbane to engage in a six-month rehabilitation program to address the alcohol abuse,” he said.
Magistrate Louisa Pink said she took the rehab booking into account.
Kleis was fined $400 for failing to provide a specimen of breath for analysis.
The defendant was also fined $500 for the second charge of failing to provide a specimen on requirement.
His licence was disqualified for six months.
Drunk driver tried to switch seats with passenger
A Murgon man lost his licence at Murgon Magistrates Court in January last year after driving drunk and trying to switch seats with his passenger after being pulled over.
Police prosecutor Barry Stevens said Buddy James Bradley Stanley was driving a car on the Bunya Highway at Ficks Crossing on December 16, 2018 when officers pulled him over for a routine check.
“Upon interception, police saw the front driver and passenger swapping seats,” he said.
Sgt Stevens said Stanley blew a blood alcohol reading of 0.166, and was driving with an expired P-plate licence.
Defence lawyer Mark Oliver said it was the 20-year-old’s first time before the court.
“I’ve known Mr Stanley for 10 years,” he said.
“He was out with friends and he had a place to stay but it fell through.
“It was his friend’s car that he was driving. His friend was drunker than he was and that’s why he elected to drive.”
Magistrate Louisa Pink told Stanley he was a risk to others on the road.
The magistrate convicted and fined the 20-year-old man $800, and disqualified him from driving for six months.
The conviction was recorded.
Repeat drink-driver punished by magistrate
When his friends started talking about stealing cars, James Elgar Stanley made the decision to drive home, but his attempt to avoid trouble landed him in Murgon Magistrates Court.
After a day of drinking at the South Burnett Anzac Day Races in Wondai back in 2019, the 43-year-old was intercepted by police on the Bunya Highway at 2.35am for a routine check.
Stanley returned a blood alcohol concentration reading of 0.155, a high reading of more than three times the limit.
Defence lawyer Chris Campbell said Stanley, who stopped drinking at 11.30pm, had plans to stay in Wondai but knew his friends had stolen cars before and didn’t want to be involved.
Magistrate Louisa Pink said there was no excuse for getting behind the wheel while under the influence and putting other road users at risk.
“I do not accept the circumstances of your offending,” Ms Pink said.
“If you were with mates, or you were on your own, and they decide they are going to commit offences, you can’t commit a serious offence yourself to stop them.”
Stanley had six prior convictions for drink-driving, the latest offence in 2013.
Police prosecutor Barry Stevens said Stanley had a dreadful traffic history, and all offences were for high readings.
“We don’t need any more prime examples of how dangerous the roads are following the deaths we have had in Queensland over the past week,” Snr Sgt Stevens said.
“This needs to be a very clear message that if you are a mature offender who continues to drink-drive, you are showing contempt to the community and are a danger to yourself and the community.”
Stanley was convicted and fined $1000 and disqualified from driving for six months.