Sleepy driver fined

A YOUNG motorist was sent home from work because he fell asleep at the wheel of a harvester, shortly before he crashed into a tree on the Calder Highway.

The 21-year-old was yesterday banned from driving for six months after pleading guilty to careless driving, driving without a valid licence and driving with an illicit drug in his system.

Emergency services at the scene of the crash in February this year.

Emergency services at the scene of the crash in February this year.

The Mildura Magistrates’ Court heard the man was working an 18-hour shift on a Red Cliffs farm when he fell asleep while operating a harvester.

It was about 8.30am on February 28 when a co-worker sent him home.

But the man's decision to drive home proved a poor one when he then fell asleep at the wheel of his car.

The car crossed to the wrong side of the Calder Highway at Irymple and ploughed into some trees before coming to rest on its left side.

Country Fire Authority and State Emergency Service crews were called to the scene as were paramedics, who took the driver to Mildura Base Hospital.

He was not seriously injured and there were no other passengers in the car.

Analysis of a blood sample taken from the man within three hours of the crash found he had methamphetamine in his system.

The court heard the man had not gone back to court to get his licence back after a previous six-month disqualification period.

Police prosecutors yesterday asked magistrate Gregory McNamara to impose a longer period of disqualification from driving as the man had previously been convicted of driving offences and had already been ordered to complete a safe driver awareness course.

Mr McNamara ordered he do the driving course again.

“The problem with what you did is that someone can get killed and not just you but somebody else,” Mr McNamara said.

“It sends a bit of a chill through me seeing that history and what you did.”

The man said he had learnt about the privileges of driving and the importance of taking power naps before getting behind the wheel.

He was disqualified from driving for another six months and fined $1700.

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