Teen drink-driver didn't know mate was in ute tray
A TEENAGE P-plater who had been drink-driving over rough terrain outside Toowoomba claimed he had no idea a mate was in the tray of his Hilux utility at the time.
Police patrolling Kingsthorpe just before 8.30pm, June 30, had seen a group of vehicles heading from Ruby St onto easement ground near the adjacent Talisker St, Toowoomba Magistrates Court heard.
Police prosecutor Julia Wheaton told the court the officers saw a Hilux utility at the rear of the vehicles which had a male holding a drink in one hand and trying to hold on while bouncing around in the tray of the utility.
The ute was seen to bump around as it went over the terrain and at one point the rear wheels left the ground as it went over a mound with the male in the back of the ute appearing to struggle to hang on, Acting Sergeant Wheaton said.
Police approached the vehicle to find the driver, 17-year-old Dylan Carl Geitz, who told police he didn't know anyone was in the back of the ute.
The teenager admitted to having been drinking alcohol earlier and blew a breath/alcohol reading of 0.045 when, being on a P-licence, he was subject to a zero alcohol reading, the court heard.
Geitz pleaded guilty to one count each of dangerous operation of a motor vehicle and to drink-driving on a provisional licence.
His solicitor Claire Graham told the court a friend of her client had his car stuck in mud in the paddock and her client had gone to tow him out.
The teen had since turned 18, was in good employment and had no previous criminal or traffic history whatsoever, Ms Graham said.
When Acting Magistrate Roger Stark said he found it difficult to accept that the driver of the vehicle didn't know there was someone in the ute's tray, the teen claimed that person had been sitting behind the spare tyre in the back and he hadn't seen him.
However, Mr Stark said it was open to the court not to accept Geize's explanation that he didn't know there was someone in the tray and the teenager would be sentenced on that basis.
Accepting the teenager had no previous criminal or traffic history which would indicate the incident was out of character for him, Mr Stark ordered the convictions not be recorded.
Taking into account Geitz had been without his driver's licence since the incident, Mr Stark fined him $1200 and disqualified him from holding or obtaining a driver's licence for six months on the dangerous driving charge and to three months on the drink-driving.