Newsroom

Death driver drug positive

The garbage truck driver involved in the crash that killed an 18 year-old bike rider in Bendigo has a history of methamphetamine use, a court has been told.

When police attended the crash scene the driver, Mathew Gray, 41, tested positive to the drug in a preliminary oral fluid test, police allege. A blood sample was then taken at hospital.

He also allegedly admitted to having smoked about 0.15 grams of methamphetamine the night before.

Detective Senior Constable Ben Oliver, from the Major Collision Investigation Unit, told the court that while analysis of the blood sample was ongoing, early results suggested it contained a "reportable amount" of methamphetamine.

He said Mr Gray's use of methamphetamine raised significant concerns for the safety of the public, especially as he was employed to drive trucks.

DSC Oliver told the court a previous employer told investigators they dismissed Mr Gray for being affected by drugs at work, while another disclosed that they had suspicions he had been under the influence while working.

Mr Gray had applied for bail in the Bendigo Magistrates' Court on Tuesday, charged with dangerous driving causing death.

He was driving a Bendigo City branded garbage truck truck in Woodward Road in Golden Square when he collided with 18 year-old Michael Keating at the intersection with Hattam Street on Friday, June 7. Keating was on his lunch break.

The court heard there was a give way sign for traffic on Woodward Road.

Mr Gray told police he looked left and right at the intersection, but did not see Mr Keating.

The truck as with many garbage trucks, was left-hand drive.

Such vehicles have been involved with serious incidents with people riding bikes over many years, and demand high skill levels from drivers.

Magistrate John Bentley adjourned the bail application to next month so Mr Gray could seek drug treatment.

In response to a question from Mr Bentley, DSC Oliver said weekly drug screens, drug treatment and a driving ban would "go a long way" to alleviating his concerns about Mr Gray's release on bail.

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