Man rolls car, flips on roof: 'Lucky to be alive'

FALLING asleep and rolling his car almost cost a Gregory River man more than a fine, with the magistrate telling him he was lucky to be alive.

On Monday, Proserpine Magistrates Court was told how Jack Sydney Andersen, 20, was driving south on the Bruce Highway, on March 24, when his white Holden ute left the road and ploughed down an embankment before flipping onto its roof, at Yalboroo, south of Bloomsbury.

Andersen suffered serious injuries including a fractured elbow and wrist, lacerations to his face and liver, and concussion and memory loss, while his girlfriend sitting in the front seat escaped without injury.

A search of Andersen's car later revealed amphetamine and methamphetamine and on Monday he pleaded guilty to driving under the influence, driving without due care and attention and possessing dangerous drugs and utensils.

The court was told how Andersen had been travelling from Gregory River to his parents' house in Mackay.

"At 7.50am the defendant has fallen asleep and driven across the centre lane of the highway and onto the wrong side of the road and down an embankment - the car flipped and rolled and came to land on its roof," Police Prosecutor Senior Sergeant Jay Merchant said.

"The defendant said he had not slept the night before and could not remember anything since Bloomsbury.

"Police observed no tyre marks on the road, which would show breaking, so he did not attempt to stop the car, instead he drifted off the road.

"Queensland Ambulance was at the scene and the defendant had significant facial injuries, so he was taken to Mackay Hospital - there was no roadside breath test and police were not able to question him.

"At 10.05am the defendant provided a specimen of blood for analysis, at the hospital. The results showed the presence of amphetamine and methamphetamine.

"Police also searched the car and found scales, a glass pipe and 0.3g of a crystal substance, which was methamphetamine.

"When he collected his property from the crash at Proserpine police station, he was compliant with police and said the crash had shaken him up and he wanted a fresh start."

Duty lawyer Elizabeth Smith said it had been a "wakeup call" for Andersen, who had spent five days in hospital.

"There were serious ramifications and it's been a wakeup call with regards to his drug use," she said.

"He says he has been off drugs since the incident and has been having counselling. A month ago, his uncle was killed in a car accident near where his accident was, and this really hit him how precarious the situation was. He will go back and work for his parents' business in Mackay as a labourer."

Magistrate James Morton said Andersen should "thank his lucky stars".

"You are lucky you are alive pal," he told Andersen.

"The problem is, you fell asleep at the wheel with no recollection of crossing the road - this is how people get killed," he said.

"If you had run into a semi (trailer) they would have been scraping you off the bitumen."

Magistrate Morton disqualified Andersen from driving for 12 months for driving under the influence, with a conviction recorded, and issued a 12-month probation order with no conviction recorded for the other charges.

"If you don't get the message you will end up doing yourself in," he said.


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