DENIAL? Drunk driver flips car but rejects 'hooning' claims
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A YOUNG driver has denied he was hooning when his car spun out of control at Benaraby, despite some witnesses having another version of events.
Harry Niall Thomas Andrews, 21, pleaded guilty to one charge of drink driving in Gladstone Magistrates Court this week after he returned a blood alcohol reading of 0.066.
Police prosecutor acting Senior Constable Balan Selvadurai said on emergency services were called to a single vehicle rollover on September 9, along Awoonga Dam Rd near the railway line.
The road in question, which resident Ken Jones described to The Observer as "treacherous", continues in a straight line for several kilometres, which he claims is "perfect for hoons".
When police arrived they found a white Holden Commodore lying on its roof down an embankment.
They were stopped by witnesses who said they had seen two men walk away from the crash toward a nearby address where they found both the defendant and the passenger, Mathew Maddin a short time later.
On the day of the crash Mr Maddin immediately blamed the rollover on the tight, hairpin turn after crossing the railway line at Awoonga Dam Rd.
"It's just the corner. The corner's a sh*t corner," Mr Maddin said, affirming he and Andrews "were only going 50" when the driver lost control.
While police took the defendant to Tannum Sands Police Station, Calliope firefighters attended to the upside down car.
Mr Maddin, who had returned to the crash site with two friends, was asked by a reporter to take the now-famous photo of him and the wrecked vehicle, which he chose to pose in front of while fireys conducted their safety checks.
The photo shows Mr Maddin giving a thumbs up as firefighters stare toward the camera in disbelief.
Defence Lawyer Rio Ramos told the court her client Andrews had consumed four beers earlier that day while playing golf with his friends.
She said Andrews had not had any lunch and was "extremely remorseful for his silliness", which ultimately led to the crash.
But residents who saw the crash unfold were of a different opinion, claiming the driver had been hooning.
One witness, who wished to remain anonymous, said he heard "the car coming long before he saw it".
"They slowed down at the corner, put the foot on the clutch and then dumped it, and you can see how far they got," the resident first on the scene the day of the crash said, pointing to the smashed up car 20 metres up the road.
However, Andrews told The Observer after he left the courtroom that it "was definitely not hooning".
Andrews was fined $350, disqualified from driving for three months and a conviction was recorded.