Dad’s groggy drive shocks onlookers
A DAD who kept falling asleep at the wheel and drifting all over the road prompted several concerned witnesses to call Triple-0, a court has heard.
The man's dangerous driving was attributed to his coming down off the drug ice.
He had two small children in the car for some of the journey until worried staff at a child care centre got him to leave both children in their care - a move praised by a magistrate when the offender appeared for sentence.
Ipswich Magistrates Court heard Stephen Miller was found by police slumped at the wheel of his white Toyota Corolla, with the engine still idling.
Stephen John Miller, 44, pleaded guilty to dangerous operation of a motor vehicle when adversely affected by an intoxicating substance at Nambour Connection Road on February 21, 2020; driving when drug positive at 7.50am in Bridgeman Downs on July 18, 2020; driving while under a 24-hour suspension at Bundamba on July 18; and possession of dangerous drugs on September 17 (buprenorphine).
Prosecutor Sergeant Molinaro said one witness saw Miller's Corolla swerving onto the incorrect side of the road towards an embankment.
Then when Miller drove into a car park at Yandina, his Corolla hit a kerb.
He was seen to be sweating profusely, "his eyes rolling into the back of his head".
As he drove away his car was seen to run onto the grass, with Miller seen bashing the steering wheel with his hand, and the Corolla stopping several times.
Sgt Molinaro said the driver of another car had to hit the brakes hard when Miller's car hit a concrete median strip ahead of them.
Another driver reported that it nearly hit a guard rail and the car later "jerked to a stop" near a service station driveway.
With the dashcam recording, another witness followed Miller's car, reporting to police that it was swerving along Nambour Connection Road. While making a right turn Miller caused another driver to brake heavily to avoid a collision.
At 11.39am police found Miller slumped over the steering wheel on a road at the end of a driveway.
Sgt Molinaro said Miller was taken to Nambour hospital to be checked. A blood sample proved positive to methylamphetamine and diazepam.
A medical report found he was likely withdrawing from ice and this was what contributed to his fatigue.
In a separate incident five months later, Miller's licence was suspended after he was caught driving with ice and amphetamine in his system. Seven hours later police found him behind the wheel of a car.
Defence lawyer Matthew Fairclough said tended medical reports and a letter from the Salvation Army.
Mr Fairclough said Miller was an oil and gas driller who lost his job in 2018 and separated from his wife.
He spiralled into depression and was "compensating with illicit substances".
Magistrate Terry Duroux noted that Miller had history in courts at Mitchell, Roma and Maroochydore.
Mr Duroux noted that three cars had to brake to avoid collisions with Miller.
Dashcam footage taken by a driver following Miller's car showed he almost collided with a guard rail on a bridge.
Mr Duroux said Miller admitted consuming ice in the days leading up to the offence.
"You are 44, a man not a kid. You are in need of a reality check," Mr Duroux said.
"Your driving was nothing short of appalling."
Mr Duroux said it was fortunate people had intervened to get Miller to allow a second child in the car to also stay at the centre before he drove off.
He noted a doctor's report that the behaviour was due to withdrawal from ice and consistent with extreme sleep deprivation.
On the charge of dangerous driving Miller was sentenced to a 15-month jail order and disqualified from driving for two years. He also received lesser concurrent jail terms on other offences as well as licence disqualifications.
Mr Duroux said he thought hard about the jail penalty but would allow immediate release on parole.
A previous $800 bond was forfeited.