Train driver’s emergency act for wayward track walker
A TRAIN driver was forced to slam on the emergency brakes to avoid killing a man who was walking on the tracks in what a magistrate this week described as “a gross act of stupidity”.
A court heard Joshua Mannello’s decision to walk along the tracks was likely influenced by his use of ecstasy that day.
Joshua Leslie Mannello, 39, from Bracken Ridge, pleaded guilty to two charges of going onto railway tracks at Thagoona and Sadliers Crossing on July 8; smoking in a railway area at Sadliers Crossing; and fare evasion
Prosecutor Sergeant Paul Caldwell said the incidents began just before 7pm on Wednesday July 8 when a train driver reported a male had walked across tracks between station platforms at Thagoona and he had to apply the emergency brakes.
The train driver reported it as being a high-level near miss with the train under emergency braking and stopping 100m from the walker.
Sgt Caldwell said the man jumped up onto the platform and got into a train carriage.
The court heard CCTV monitored Mannello travelling on the train before getting off at Thomas St station and crossing the tracks at Sadliers Crossing.
At 7.40pm he was seen at a platform shed smoking a cigarette and throwing a white bag down near the tracks.
Mannello then activated an emergency help phone and spoke directly to staff before boarding a train to Ipswich station.
Sgt Caldwell said Mannello was intercepted by police at 8.45pm with no ticket or Go Card. Mannello told police he had no money because his bag and wallet had been stolen.
Sgt Caldwell said he was asked if he remembered throwing his bag near the tracks, but he said he did not.
“He said he had taken ecstasy, and he was under the influence of a drug causing him to pass out and could not recall where he had been or what he had done,” Sgt Caldwell said.
“He appeared to still be under the influence when his mother attended Ipswich railway station to take him home safely.”
Defence lawyer Alexis Oxley said Mannello was studying at QUT, had been working that night, and believes he had something placed in his drink to cause him to behave that way.
“In the past he had issues with illicit substances but says he has no issues currently. He accepts it had been dangerous to cross the rail tracks,” Ms Oxley said.
Magistrate Andy Cridland said his behaviour in crossing the tracks was one of gross stupidity.
“Absolutely. I accept exactly what I did,” Mannello said.
“I took drugs and had been drinking. I don’t even know if I had drugs that day or not.”
Mr Cridland convicted and fined Mannello $1000.
“I’ve never chucked myself in front of a train before. Never have, never will,” Mannello said when leaving the courtroom.