Truck driver cleared of cop's death

Daniel Stiller
Daniel Stiller Supplied

THE driver behind the wheel of a prime mover that jack-knifed on the Bruce Highway and killed a police officer reacted as any reasonable and prudent driver would have, a magistrate has found.

John Edward Dodd was driving a prime mover on the Bruce Highway at Mount Larcom on December 1, 2010 when his vehicle crashed into an oncoming motorbike carrying Sergeant Daniel Stiller.

Mr Dodd yesterday was cleared of a charge of driving without due care or attention. He pleaded not guilty.

In handing down her verdict on Friday in the Brisbane Magistrates Court, Magistrate Jacqueline Payne said Mr Dodd was accused of speeding, driving to closely to the truck in front of him and breaking too quickly.

The prosecution also alleged Mr Dodd had his brakes set on the wrong level, which contributed to the crash.

Sgt Stiller was escorting a wide load carrying a large piece of mining equipment when the crash happened.

Families and friend of the fallen police officer sat through hours of harrowing evidence, including from a police officer who found Sgt Stiller motionless on the road.

Mr Dodd was travelling in a convoy of trucks and claimed he spotted something in the corner of his eye, prompting him to take his foot off the accelerator, right before the crash occurred.

Magistrate Payne found Mr Dodd acted as the truck drivers in the convoy did.

"There is nothing to suggest he sped up," she said.

Magistrate Payne also said there was no evidence whatsoever Mr Dodd closed the gap between himself and the truck in front of him.

"(Mr Dodd's) driving must be considered in the context that he and his convoy were travelling at some 100 kilometres per hour," she said.

Mr Dodd was found not guilty.

Defence lawyer Richard King made an application on behalf of Mr Dodd for costs on the basis a Gladstone prosecutor had, earlier in the proceedings, submitted the driving charge not proceed.

However, Magistrate Payne found the charge proceeded on good faith and dismissed the application.

Topics:  bruce highway mount larcom

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