A TRUCK driver who was caught speeding on the Calder Freeway while high on cocaine has lost his licence for two years.
Eric John Stephenson, 53, appeared in the Bendigo Magistrates' Court on Monday where he pleaded guilty to charges including failing an oral fluid test.
The court heard on September 6, 2019, police intercepted Stephenson driving a truck west along the Calder Freeway in Wycheproof. He was caught speeding at 98km/h in an 80km/h zone.
Stephenson underwent a preliminary breath test, which showed no signs of alcohol. An oral fluid test showed there was methamphetamine in his system.
Stephenson told police he had taken cocaine a few days prior but that he needed to drive for work.
The court heard about 1.40pm on April 14 last year, Stephenson was again intercepted driving his truck on the Calder Alternative Highway in Lockwood.
A preliminary breath test again showed no signs of alcohol but Stephenson returned a positive oral fluid test for methamphetamine.
He told police he had used the drug ice that morning but he was "f***** if (he) knew" how much he actually used.
Stephenson told police he had driven more than 235km that morning while under the influence of drugs.
The court heard then on May 14 last year, police intercepted Stephenson on the Calder Freeway in Gisborne.
He initially did not follow police direction and instead pulled over about 250 metres short of where the officers were instructing.
Police found that Stephenson was not wearing his seatbelt correctly and his truck's load was incorrectly restrained.
The court heard there were also issues with Stephenson's log book and it showed that he had worked 12.5 hours without a rest break.
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When police asked him why he did not follow their directions about pulling over, Stephenson said he was "f****** sick of this sh**".
In regards to his load not being secured correctly, Stephenson told officers he had "cracked the sh*** and braked real hard".
Defence lawyer Andrew Purcell said Stephenson was a career truck driver who was operating in a culture of extreme time pressure, so the 53-year-old had been using stimulants to stay awake for work.
Mr Purcell said the culture did not excuse Stephenson's offending but it provided some context.
The defence lawyer said Stephenson had lost his job as a result of the charges and had to turn in his truck, which served as extra-curial punishment.
Mr Purcell submitted a financial penalty with the mandatory licence disqualification would be an appropriate sentence.
Magistrate Trieu Huynh said the repeated drug-driving offences were "obviously concerning", as was Stephenson's "somewhat belligerent nature" towards police.
Mr Huynh convicted and fined Stephenson $2500. The 53-year-old's licence was also cancelled and he was disqualified from driving for two years.
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