Truckie avoids jail over fatal NSW crash

Shane Day was behind the wheel of a fuel tanker when it rolled and exploded in Sydney, killing two people, but has walked from court with a 12-month suspended sentence and $1000 in fines.


Friday’s sentencing of the former Cootes driver ends a long-running legal process with a jury last month clearing Day of dangerous driving occasioning death and grievous bodily harm over the 2013 smash at Mona Vale.

He was, however, subsequently found guilty of the lesser charge of negligent driving occasioning death and was on Friday afternoon given the suspended sentence, stripped of his licence for two years and fined $1000.

Sydney District Court Judge Leonie Flannery found Day was going too fast and had ignored a sign warning truck drivers to use a low gear when he hurtled down a steep stretch of Mona Vale Road.

The court heard Day had been speeding through a 70km/h zone at 83km/h while hauling 34,000 litres of diesel and unleaded petrol when his tanker flipped, crashed into several cars and burst into a fireball that could be seen from suburbs away.

Peter Wem, 73, and passenger Graham Holtfreter, 71, died after trying to flee the inferno.

A third man, Neil Donaldson, was badly burnt.

Outside court on Friday, Mr Donaldson thanked the NSW police crash investigation unit for their work, but wouldn’t comment on Day’s sentence.

“I’ll reserve judgment on that,” he told reporters.

While the consequences of Day’s crash were serious, Judge Flannery said Day’s culpability was low as 10 out of 12 of the tanker’s brakes were defective.

“Mr Day should never have been put into (the) truck,” Judge Flannery told the court.

Day stood still as he was told that as part of his suspended sentence he had to enter a good behaviour bond.

Two female supporters hugged following Judge Flannery’s remarks.

Day walked briskly from the court after the brief sentencing, refusing to comment.