A man accused of causing a truck crash near Marong last year that killed another person in the vehicle has pleaded not guilty to dangerous driving.
Queensland resident Neville Raymond Dodt appeared in the Bendigo Magistrates' Court via video link on Thursday for a committal hearing.
Mr Dodt is charged with dangerous driving causing death in relation to a crash in the early hours of October 13, 2019 on the Wimmera Highway.
A man in his 50s was killed when a truck in which he was travelling crashed into a tree and rolled.
Detective Leading Senior Constable Matthew Hunt, from the Major Collision Investigation Unit, said the truck was not fitted with a sleeper cab and it did not appear the seats could recline.
The court heard Mr Dodt said he had hit a kangaroo earlier that night, but Detective Leading Senior Constable Hunt said he could not distinguish between damage from the fatal crash and another incident.
He also gave evidence the main impact in the crash occurred on the passenger side of the truck.
The court also heard evidence from respiratory and sleep physician Professor Matthew Naughton, who provided a report in relation to Mr Dodt.
Crown prosecutor David Cordy asked what impact it would have on his conclusion if the vehicle was not equipped with a sleeping cab.
"It would increase my opinion that it was a sleep-related crash, that the driver... was likely to be very sleep-deprived at the time of the crash," Professor Naughton said.
When cross-examined by defence lawyer Simon Moglia, Professor Naughton agreed concussion could have a substantial impact on consciousness and had been put forward as a cause of sleep disturbance.
He also gave evidence that when a person was sleep-deprived, their body would want to skip shallow sleep and go straight into deep sleep.
The court also heard that after 17 hours of continuous wakefulness, a person's cognition began to drop off.
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Professor Naughton said body-worn camera footage from police showed Mr Dodt say he was tired, but agreed comments made immediately after a crash could be unreliable due to confusion.
Detective Sergeant Robert Hay, from Victoria Police's Collision Reconstruction and Mechanical Unit, gave evidence that the speed of the truck at the time of impact could not be calculated, but he believed it to be between 60 and 100 km/h.
During cross-examination, Detective Sergeant Hay said movement of an excavator on the tray of the truck was unlikely to have had a large effect on the direction of the vehicle, especially as it was on a straight road.
He said stability would be affected by the higher mass of the excavator.
Detective Sergeant Hay said he did not think the crash was consistent with someone pulling off the road to stop, as there was no evidence of braking or steering away from the tree.
Magistrate Julie Grainger found there was enough evidence for Mr Dodt to stand trial and listed the matter for a directions hearing in the County Court later this month.
"I'm definitely not guilty, Your Honour," Mr Dodt told Ms Grainger.
Mr Dodt remains on bail.
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