Young truck driver jailed over grandfather's death
A Queensland truck driver has been jailed for at least nine months for killing a grandfather by running a red light in a fully loaded prime mover.
Jackson Glenn O'Gradey, 23, of Toowoomba, faced Brisbane District Court on Friday for sentencing after pleading guilty to dangerous driving causing death.
O'Gradey was aged 21 and had received his multi-combination truck licence just six months prior when he approached the intersection of Lytton and Creek roads at Murarrie in Brisbane's east at 10.43am on March 3, 2021.
He was driving a prime mover with two tipper trailers weighing a total of 83 tonnes when the green traffic lights ahead of him turned amber.
Crown prosecutor David Finch said the road was wet and O'Gradey's behaviour "indicated a degree of indecision" over stopping.
O'Gradey radioed the driver of a truck directly ahead of him and asked if he was continuing through the lights.
The other driver said he was and O'Gradey could follow but he "would have to be keen".
The lights turned red 4.7 seconds later, followed by O'Gradey driving through and hitting the car of Bill Collins, 80, who was turning right.
Mr Finch said Mr Collins was a "much loved" grandfather and died at the scene while people in two other cars hit were lightly injured.
"O'Gradey showed appallingly bad judgement, so bad that it was criminal," Mr Finch said.
"He was quite a distance away and had committed to a dangerous decision ... It's that egregious error of judgement that had tragic and catastrophic consequences."
O'Gradey's barrister submitted 20 character references for her client and said he applied his brakes before the collision and had been wary of stopping at lights as he could feel the truck begin to slide out of control.
"He received advice from another experienced driver. Mr O'Grady really made a serious misjudgement though he was not acting against advice," she said.
"Remorse is something that has consumed him from the moment of the incident. He was distraught, in shock, shaking and repeatedly saying 'I'm sorry'."
Judge Vicki Loury said O'Gradey had shown a "reckless" departure from the expectations of professional drivers and he should have slowed down if he was not confident of braking in the rain.
"You are of exceptional character ... you have engaged in counselling, which indicates very good prospects for rehabilitation," Judge Loury said.
"General deterrence remains important as a message to those who take on roles as a heavy driver and the court must condemn your conduct that resulted in the loss of innocent life."
Judge Loury sentenced O'Gradey to three-and -half years' imprisonment to be suspended after nine months due to his young age and remorse.
O'Gradey was also disqualified from holding a licence for two years.
After the sentence was passed down, O'Gradey turned in the dock with tears in his eyes to look at his family members and supporters sitting behind him in the public gallery.