A truck driver told police he was distracted when he allegedly veered onto the wrong side of the road and smashed into an on-coming vehicle, killing its driver instantly, in Newlyn last year.
Michael James Mitchell, 46, was driving a Hino tipper truck home to Bendigo when the accident occurred on the Midland Highway at 5.19pm on February 24.
Daylesford’s George Paul Hubber, 45, died after his Land Rover was struck and rolled onto its passenger side, while his father survived the crash with minor injuries.
Mitchell, of Kangaroo Flat, pleaded not guilty at the Ballarat Magistrates Court on Wednesday to dangerous driving causing death, careless driving and failing to drive to the left of the road.
He was committed to stand trial on the most serious charge of dangerous driving causing Mr Hubber’s death.
A police summary inspected by Fairfax Media states Mitchell could not explain to police what happened before the fatality, but something caught his eye behind a nearby house.
“I wasn’t watching where I was going,” Mitchell said.
Mr Hubber’s father, also named George, recalled the truck starting to wander on the highway, the police summary says.
“The distance would have been about three white posts. The way the truck came out wasn’t a sudden movement but a veer,” Mr Hubber senior said.
Mr Hubber tried to avoid the truck by driving further to the left side of the road but it was struck as the truck continued its line, the police summary says.
Collision reconstructionist Detective Sergeant Jenelle Mehegan was the only witness to give evidence at the committal hearing on Wednesday.
She told the court the truck was travelling no less than 71km/h and no more than 84km/h at the point of impact.
She said there was no evidence the truck driver had braked on the road surface but brakes had been used on the grass.
“Before the collision, the (truck) driver hasn’t applied emergency braking,” Dr Mehegan said.
She said the truck struck the Land Rover twice, and because it weighed more than the Land Rover, no airbags could have saved Mr Hubber’s life.
“There were two contacts in this crash. The first impact, then a rotation, and a second impact. With that there is no way to determine with certainty the angle of both vehicles,” Dr Mehegan said.
Mitchell was committed to stand trial in the County Court at Ballarat at a later date. A direction’s hearing will be held in September.
His bail was extended.
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