The men wanted to go to Mackay but the driver crashed on a motorway.
The men wanted to go to Mackay but the driver crashed on a motorway.

Driver in amputation crash appeals jail term, driving ban

IT was a horrific crash.

A passenger travelling from Brisbane to Mackay in a prime mover suffered such severe injuries, he had his left leg amputated below the knee.

The driver that day, his mate Benjamin James Gazzara, was jailed for three years.

But now, Gazzara's appeal against the sentence has been partially successful.

The accident happened in September 2013 and Gazzara was driving the prime mover and trailer, carrying a load of about 16 tonnes.

His friend was in the passenger seat. The men were planning to go to Mackay and were on Brisbane's Gateway Motorway.

Queensland Court of Appeal said Gazzara was travelling in excess of the speed limit, causing his friend - also a truckie - to suggest Gazzara "might want to back off a bit”.

Mr Gazzara, who is now 29, replied "it'll be right”, and did not slow down, the appeal court said.

The semi-trailer tipped over when Gazzara changed lanes because there was a slower truck travelling in the right lane.

The prime mover rolled to the left as well before smashing through a metal barrier with the trailer and plunging off an embankment to a road below.

Mr Gazzara was charged with dangerous operation of a vehicle causing grievous bodily harm.

He pleaded guilty in August last year and two months later was sentenced to three years in jail.

That sentence was to be suspended after six months but operational for four years. He was also banned from driving for three years.

Gazzara argued these penalties were excessive.

He also raised issues about the way his trial was handled and how his guilty plea emerged.

Basically, he believed he was innocent and his guilty plea at the time was not actually an admission of guilt.

The appeal against conviction was dismissed but Gazzara's application for leave to appeal against sentence was allowed.

His driver's licence disqualification was reduced from three years to two years. The rest of the sentence was confirmed.

The appeal court judges reached their decisions unanimously.

-NewsRegional


Why you should change your iPhone passcode

Why you should change your iPhone passcode

Do you use a six-digit passcode for your iPhone?

Splendour tickets sold out in minutes

Splendour tickets sold out in minutes

If you missed out, don’t panic and read on

The joy is in the giving, and giving, and giving

The joy is in the giving, and giving, and giving

The joy is in the giving, and giving, and giving

Local Partners