An Echuca motorist who drifted onto the wrong side of the road, clipping a prime mover and crashing into a paddock at Camperdown is believed to have fallen asleep at the wheel.
Nathan Hill, 22, pleaded guilty in Warrnambool Magistrates Court on Monday to careless driving.
The court heard he was driving a red Toyota Hilux east on the Princes Highway at Camperdown on October 31 last year about 2am.
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He drifted onto the wrong side of the road, clipping the front of a Kenworth prime mover travelling west.
The court heard the Hilux clipped multiple points of the double trailer attached to the prime mover before continuing for 500 metres and veering into a paddock.
The vehicle was extensively damaged.
Police attended and the motorist said he had worked two back-to-back 16-hour shifts driving tractors with only six hours sleep in between.
The court heard it was believed the motorist had fallen asleep at the wheel.
The man told police he felt "a little bit tired" and the last thing he remembered was seeing the lights of the truck.
He said he'd not long left work, starting at 8am the day before and finishing at 1.30am.
On Monday, Mr Hill told the court he had "messed up".
"I've learnt that now," he said.
Magistrate Mark Stratmann said the motorist could have ended up under the prime mover.
"And there'd be no person appearing in court today. There'd be a family without a son and a whole heap of people wouldn't have the benefit of knowing you," he said.
"That's how serious that was."
Mr Stratmann said he was very aware of the obligation of those who drive harvesters and tractors at this time of the year.
"There's a massive shortage of drivers and the pressure will go on for you to drive and drive and drive, but I need to be comfortable that you understand that you can't do that," he said.
"These are massive, dangerous pieces of equipment not unlike a semi trailer.
The man was fined $1500. A conviction was not recorded.
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