Joshua Terrance Hennings pleaded guilty in Noosa Magistrates Court on Tuesday to the dangerous operation of a vehicle, driving a vehicle while over the middle alcohol limit and driving while a drug was present in blood or saliva. Picture: Social media
Joshua Terrance Hennings pleaded guilty in Noosa Magistrates Court on Tuesday to the dangerous operation of a vehicle, driving a vehicle while over the middle alcohol limit and driving while a drug was present in blood or saliva. Picture: Social media

Crash throws drink driver’s friends from ute tray

A 22-year-old drink driver was responsible for a crash that threw two passengers from his ute's tray before leaving the scene.

Joshua Terrance Hennings pleaded guilty in Noosa Magistrates Court on Tuesday to the dangerous operation of a vehicle, driving a vehicle while over the middle alcohol limit and driving while a drug was present in blood or saliva.

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Police prosecutor Alison Johnstone said Hennings dangerously operated his ute on the Old Bruce Highway in Federal on February 22 with three passengers, two of which were unsecured in the tray.

"The vehicle crashed when it crossed the oncoming traffic lane and went into the drain on the opposite side of the road, the vehicle travelled in the drain for over 100m before the car came back onto the road and continued … for another 100m before the vehicle stropped," she said.

"The two occupants in the back of the utility, a 20-year-old male and female were ejected from the tray of the utility during the crash, they both suffered a number of injuries and came to rest on the left-hand side of the southbound lane."

She said the forensic crash unit was unable to identify why the car crossed the lanes, but determined it had collided with and earth embankment which had destroyed the driver side wheel.

 

Joshua Terrance Hennings covered his face while leaving Noosa Magistrates Court on Tuesday. Picture: Laura Pettigrew
Joshua Terrance Hennings covered his face while leaving Noosa Magistrates Court on Tuesday. Picture: Laura Pettigrew

Senior Constable Johnstone said Henning's offending was aggravated by the fact that he was seen leaving the scene in another vehicle and suggested a nine-month suspended sentence as an appropriate sentence.

"Upon arrival police spoke to the defendant's father who was in the process of cleaning debris from the road, the defendant's father had told police his son had been taken back home (and) police arranged for him to return to the scene," she said.

Hennings later blew a blood alcohol reading of 0.101.

Henning's solicitor Jeffrey Conroy suggested fines or community service as a punishment for the "hardworking and motivated" apprentice.

"My client and his friends had gone to the Cooroy RSL … he came back with his friends and there was discussions and pressure," he said.

"He didn't want to drive, he had obviously had some alcohol … they wanted to get in the back of the tray he didn't want them there, but ultimately they drove and … it could have turned out a lot worse than it did."

He said Hennings had no criminal or traffic history and was sorry for his actions.

"He is very remorseful his friends feel sorry for him in a lot of ways because they wanted to get in the vehicle and they feel bad that he has now been charged," he said.

Mr Conroy said Hennings suffered depression and anxiety prior to his charges and had been using drugs which led to him being charged with driving with drugs, including MDMA in his system on June 14.

"It was in the afternoon he had been at a party the night before, it was a random stop, no erratic driving and given it was after midday he believed he wouldn't have had any issues and the drugs wouldn't be in his system," he said.

Magistrate Maxine Baldwin said it was "appalling behaviour".

"This is really frightening stuff and rings a terrible bell of other accidents where people haven't been so lucky," she said.

"To drive with people in the back is almost inconceivable, to drive with alcohol well that's stupidity, but to know those people are in the back and in such danger and then to be pacing around worrying about yourself when there is a girl laying on the ground to me does not show any remorse.

"Leaving on that night, in any way shape or form to me smells a rat of hoping you'd be kept out of view because you had been drinking."

Ms Baldwin sentence Hennings to 12 months' probation.

He was also disqualified for four months for the drink driving offence and was fined $350 for his drug driving charge.


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