One-legged driver had 'death wish'

A ONE-LEGGED man who felt frustrated by his ailment ingested a cocktail of painkillers and then got behind the wheel.

Unlicensed driver David Smith was overtaking other vehicles at speed and swerving into oncoming traffic as he careered down the Bruce Hwy at Chatsworth, near Gympie.

Smith appeared in Hervey Bay Magistrates Court. Magistrate Graeme Tatnell described his behaviour as "a death wish".

He pleaded guilty to seven traffic offences, including dangerous operation of a vehicle and being adversely affected by an intoxicating substance.

Blood tests showed that on the day in question, back in November, Smith had morphine, diazepam, nordiazepam and cannabis in his system.

He had passengers in the car as he was chased by Gympie traffic police who were alerted to his erratic driving.

After Smith's car was seen swerving into oncoming traffic, forcing others swerve out of the way, it slid sideways and crashed into a fence, causing significant damage.

The vehicle was unregistered, uninsured and displaying false plates that Smith had found at Hervey Bay Airport.

He freely admitted to police he would have put others at risk.

Defence lawyer John Milburn said Smith lost his leg in a motocross accident two years ago.

This had left him "devastated, depressed and disheartened".

It had changed his entire personality and outlook.

He'd been given a number of morphine-based products for the pain, but had decided to give up drugs altogether.

"This has shaken him dramatically," Mr Milburn said.

Smith was fined $2500 and disqualified from holding a licence for two years.

"Unfortunately this type of event is far too common," Mr Tatnell said.

"It could very easily have had tragic outcomes," the magistrate said.



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