11 March 2016

A Sydney truck driver found guilty of negligent driving over a fiery crash that killed two people has been given a 12-month suspended sentence and had his licence suspended for two years.

Shane Anthony Day was last month cleared of dangerous driving occasioning death and grievous bodily harm over the 2013 Mona Vale smash, in which his fuel tanker flipped, crashed into several cars and burst into flames.

Peter Wem, 73, and passenger Graham Holtfreter, 71, died after trying to flee the inferno.

Earlier this month the former Cootes driver was found guilty of the lesser charge by Sydney District Court Judge Leonie Flannery and was on Friday given the suspended sentence and fined $1000.

Day, 47, had been transporting almost 40,000 litres of petrol just after 3.30pm on October 1, 2013, when his Cootes tanker clipped a roundabout, struck a power pole, flipped and skidded into oncoming traffic.

The tanker exploded into a fireball, killing the two men and leaving another man, Neil Donaldson, with horrific burns.

Day’s trial heard that the brakes on his tanker had been seriously defective and that this had been a substantial contributor to the accident; he was unable to slow down effectively as he reached the bottom of a steep hill on Mona Vale Road.

However, it also heard that, shortly before the accident, the driver was travelling at 83km/h.

On March 2, NSW District Court Judge Leonie Flannery found that this – combined with Day’s failure to comply with a road sign instructing heavy vehicle drivers to use low gear on the hill – amounted to negligent driving.

AAP, Paul Bibby

Extracted in full from the Sydney Morning Herald.