Driver jailed for reckless head-on crash

HIGH speed driver Joshua Abbey was overtaking cars recklessly before a head-on crash on the Cunningham Highway at Purga.

Behind the wheel of a white Mitsubishi Lancer, investigating police say the speed of the disqualified driver was in excess of 140km/h.

Abbey was unconscious in the wreckage and aided by other motorists.

The second driver in a blue Nissan X-trail, named as Mr Campbell, suffered injuries that caused him to be off work for six weeks.

Both cars were write-offs.

Appearing before Ipswich Magistrates Court for sentence, Abbey did not get to go home – instead sent off to jail for his serious offences.

Not all charges related to the crash.

Joshua William Abbey, 30, from Eagleby but more recently Nambour, pleaded guilty to 16 offences that included operating a vehicle dangerously on the Cunningham Highway on June 11, 2019; driving when disqualified by court order – repeat offender; vehicle not in safe condition; driving when disqualified; driving when drug positive; two counts of stealing fuel; and receiving tainted property.

There were also registration offences including driving without registration plate attached and driving unregistered vehicle.

Prosecutor Sergeant Rose Molinaro said the crash occurred at 4.10pm in a 100 speed zone near Purga Creek when Abbey was driving west.

His car was seen overtaking other vehicles at high speed and as he attempted overtake on the left shoulder, he lost control.

His car went sideways struck a barrier then collided head-on with the Nissan.

CCTV footage from a nearby service station was used in the investigation to help calculate his speed. As well as the 96m skid marks before impact.

Sgt Molinaro said analysis worked out that the minimum speed of Abbey was 141km/h in the 100 zone.

“He was court disqualified at the time from driving and had false plates. The tyres had insufficient tread,” she said.

Police sought a jail term of 18-months to two years, with Abbey to serve one-third, Sgt Molinaro saying Abbey with his high-speed, erratic driving, exposed other people to serious risk and caused a head-on collision.

The two fuel drive-offs was of the value of $63.45 and $74.50.

On April 17 last year Abbey tested positive to driving with methylamphetamine in his system.

Defence lawyer Daniel Clare conceded jail was in range but sought a lesser penalty saying Abbey was suffering grief at the time due to a marriage breakdown and took “the dark road” using drugs.

However, he was now in a stable relationship and was engaged in counselling and making serious efforts at rehabilitation.

“He has a sense of shame regarding his conduct,” Mr Clare said.

His submission on penalty was for a sentence that would not impact on the efforts being made by Abbey, saying a jail term of nine to 12 months was appropriate.

Mr Clare sought that this be suspended, or served not in jail but by way of an intensive corrections order that would allow Abbey to remain supervised in the community while continuing his rehabilitation efforts.

Magistrate Dennis Kinsella said Abbey’s offending had been a course of conduct that involved two previous offences for driving when disqualified.

“A course of conduct contemptuous of our road rules, and he was driving when court disqualified,” Mr Kinsella said.

“He has put himself in this insidious position.”

Mr Kinsella said the offences were nearly all done between December 2018 and June 2019, except for the offence of receiving a stolen laptop computer in May 2018.

Abbey was convicted and sentenced to a jail term of 15-months, with lesser jail terms for other offences.

His time to serve was reduced to two months, with parole on October 7.

He was disqualified from driving for six years.