Naked driver high on meth causes huge train delays
A GYMPIE region drug driver disrupted passenger and freight traffic on the major Queensland north-south rail line when he risked causing a rail crash at Noosa Rd, Gympie Magistrates Court was told yesterday.
The court was told Goomboorian excavator operator David John Politanski, 35, had trespassed on railway land and parked recklessly close to the rail line, causing a passing train driver to sound the alarm.
Magistrate Chris Callaghan told an openly remorseful Politanski that Politanski had "caused a great disruption to Queensland Rail" and had forced a driver to slow down, potentially causing further delays to other services down the line.
"They had to slow the trains down (to be sure of not impacting with Politanski's car) and that would have worried a lot of people and possibly caused other delays," he said.
"You shouldn't have been anywhere near the wheel of a car, in the bush or wherever," Mr Callaghan said.
Politanski pleaded guilty to recklessly trespassing on railway property in Noosa Rd, Gympie on March 14, as well as interfering with railway property and possessing meth amphetamine, scales used for drug purposes and a syringe not disposed of properly.
He also pleaded guilty to driving under the influence of a drug.
Police told the court they received an emergency call from the rail control centre, notifying them of a male driving a silver Holden Astra on railway property dangerously close to the railway line.
Trains were forced to slow to walking pace to avoid the car, disrupting rail traffic.
A larger cargo train had to be slowed gradually over a long distance causing further delays on the network.
Police noticed a male walking naked around the car, as a passenger train passed.
His behaviour was consistent with being "intoxicated with some substance."
Politanski had then driven towards waiting police on the railway maintenance track and had then stopped.
He was unable to sit still, slurring his words, his pupils were pinpointed and he was naked, the court was told.
A search of his car found a clipseal bag with 2.5g of meth amphetamine, three used syringes not disposed of properly, the scales and empty clipseal bags, leading police to conclude he was driving under the influence of drugs.
He admitted he had injected amphetamine.
He could not be interviewed due to his level of intoxication.
A remorseful Politanski apologised to the court and police and said he had relapsed in the course of giving up the drug.
"I had just been to a confronting counselling session and for some reason made the decision (to take the drug).
"I followed a road, which was ungated and I did not realise it wasn't a public road," he said.
"I drove around the corner and all the police were there.
"I was driving up to the road to get a lift because I knew I was in no condition to drive."
However, he told the court he was on his way to work.
Mr Callaghan praised Politanski's frankness and noted he was now successfully off amphetamines.
"You caused a great disruption to Queensland Rail," Mr Callaghan said.
He fined Politanski $1000 and disqualified him from driving the the mandatory minimum of six months, with no conviction recorded.