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Mount Gambier truck driver guilty over crash that killed tourist

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Peter Buckley, 61, of Mount Gambier, has been found guilty of culpable driving over a crash that killed a tourist and seriously injured three others near Portland, Victoria, in 2018.

The jury took less than half an hour to reach the verdict in the Warrnambool County Court, with Buckley now remanded in custody and due to be sentenced on July 22.

The court heard Buckley was driving a loaded B-double truck when it collided into three cars stopped at roadworks on Portland-Nelson Road in March, 2018.

A female UK tourist, who was in the back passenger seat of one of the vehicles, was killed and two other passengers and the driver were airlifted to Melbourne hospitals with serious injuries.

A witness told the trial he was driving behind Buckley’s truck for 50km prior the accident and became concerned because it was being driven erratically, veering across the centre line before swerving back several times.

The prosecution also showed that at the time of the collision, Buckley had not been taking the prescribed amount of medication needed to control seizures resulting from a head injury suffered many years ago. He was required to undergo annual assessments, including from a neurologist, to keep driving heavy vehicles.

“As an experienced truck driver who had been required to regularly attend a doctor for assessment of conditions that included seizures, fits, convulsions, epilepsy, blackouts and fainting, the accused … was well aware of the potential relevance of those episodes,” said prosecutor David Cordy.

“He is also aware of the real risk to others on and off the road if he was to suffer an episode while driving, let alone driving a 60 tonne B-double.”

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