A TRUCK driver who went berserk after taking methamphetamines has been placed on a suspended jail sentence and good behaviour bond in Dubbo Local Court.
Kurt Campbell Presnell was remorseful and embarrassed when he faced Magistrate Andrew Eckhold on charges of possessing a prohibited drug and resisting police.
The court heard Presnell had been “floridly psychotic” at the time of the June 6 offending.
“The behaviour was out of character,” a barrister said.
“He is an extremely lucky man – it could have been a lot worse.
“The resist against police was low-end. He was trying to get away from a confined space.”
The court was told Presnell, 29, of Gwabegar, had family support and excellent prospects of rehabilitation.
Magistrate Eckhold described methamphetamine as a bad drug.
“I see it all the time,” he said.
“(The drug) causes people to become much stronger. It results in violence and dreadful situations.
“People (in the trucking industry) take speed because they are under pressure, forced to drive too long and too far.
“Drivers are required to do something very boring for a long time and are expected to react very quickly when something goes wrong.”
Magistrate Eckhold said Presnell had an outstanding record and was unlikely to re-offend.
“There is a need for general deterrence,” the magistrate said.
“Methamphetamine is not only used in the trucking industry. It is surprising to see who uses the drug in the community. It causes a lot of problems.”
Prosecution facts tendered to the court said Presnell left Wagga Wagga saleyards on June 5 in a Kenworth prime mover towing two trailers loaded with stock.
Heading to Dubbo, he felt tired on the approach to Tomingley.
Presnell pulled into a rest stop at 1am. He later left the rest area and drove to Tomingley East Road where the truck had a major mechanical failure.
At 6.30am Presnell was found standing near the truck waving a stick and calling out to people that could not be seen, suggesting he was hallucinating.
Presnell was wearing shorts and no shirt or shoes when the temperature was only five degrees Celcius.
He punched a man, causing bleeding, and paced up and down near the prime mover waving the stick and threatening to assault anyone who approached.
When police arrived they saw belongings from the truck strewn over the road.
Presnell was unsteady on his feet, had slurred speech and provided an inconsistent version of events.
Witnesses told police they saw Presnell swallow a large rock of a crystal substance obtained from the truck.
When officers opened the door they found packages of a crystal-like substance in the glove box.
Presnell admitted “I’ve taken speed, lots of it”.
Prosecution facts said the truck driver’s mood was changing and he became increasingly agitated and aggressive.
At one stage he went to the rear of the truck and said “Walk away there is a dark cloud coming and we are all dead.”
Police found four headlights on the truck had been smashed. An eagle ornament from the front of the prime mover had been removed.
Prosecution facts said Presnell picked up a rock and said “I am going to hurt someone.”
Ambulance paramedics refused to transport Presnell because of his drug-induced behaviour.
He was placed in the rear cage of a police vehicle and taken to Dubbo hospital. On arrival he lifted himself onto the roof of the vehicle in an effort to escape from police.
Officers took hold of him as he attempted to flee. Presnell swung his arm and struck a female officer causing her to fall and injure a knee. Presnell was subdued with capsicum spray.
The next day he could not recall anything after leaving Wagga. He did not remember damaging the prime mover, purchasing methamphetamine, assaulting a man, resisting police or arriving at the hospital.
Presnell could not offer any explanation for his actions.
“All I can remember is something burning,” he said.
Presnell was placed on a 12-month suspended jail sentence and nine-month bond.