Burnley crash truckie jailed for five years


Driver at centre of fiery 2007 Burnley Tunnel crash in Melbourne sentenced to five years in jail

Burnley crash truckie jailed for five years
Burnley crash truckie jailed for five years

By Samantha Freestone | September 1, 2009

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The truck driver at the centre of the fiery 2007 Burnley Tunnel crash in Melbourne which killed three motorists has been sentenced to five years jail.

David Kalwig, 44, must serve two years and nine months’ jail before being eligible for parole.

The Victorian Supreme Court today found him guilty of three counts of dangerous driving causing death after failing to avoid a broken-down vehicle in the tunnel near Richmond.

But he was cleared of three counts of culpable driving causing death.

Motorists Darren Sporn, 37, Geoff Kennard, 51, and former Olympic cyclist Damian McDonald, 34, were killed in the March 2007 crash, which created a massive inferno in the tunnel.

He was not under the influence of any narcotics or alcohol at the time and was recorded as travelling 10km/h under the speed limit immediately before the collision.

Kalwig, who pleaded not guilty to three counts of culpable driving, was reportedly "expressionless" when the sentence was read out.

Prosecutor Peter Rose SC was not available for comment but said in court while the driver was not speeding he failed to "slow down and keep a proper lookout before he suddenly overtook the broken-down truck".

Kalwig had been travelling around twice as fast as those around him, the prosecutor said.

The operator’s barrister Geoffrey Steward said it was not a crime that Kalwig's view of the stalled truck was obscured.

A call to Kalwig’s mobile phone which "connected seven minutes after the collision" was thrown out as evidence after it was deemed a "tenuous basis for any such conclusion" and that the evidence be "held to be irrelevant".

It was initially thought the call may have disrupted Kalwig’s concentration.

Justice Mark Weinberg said although he understood Kalwig was an experienced driver, he acted "negligently on the day".

"Their deaths were brought about solely because of the manner in which you drove," Justice Weinberg said.

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