Man who died was reluctant to get in car, court hears

A MAN who died in a triple fatal crash at Cooranbong was reluctant to get in the car with Joe Fenech behind the wheel because he was a passenger a few weeks earlier when Mr Fenech allegedly lost control of a car while driving aggressively, court documents stated.

Rodney Field, 45, and brothers Luke and Ben Ramsay, 25 and 27 respectively, died instantly when the Holden Crewman they were in left Freemans Drive between Morisset and Cooranbong on the night of December 4, 2010.

Mr Fenech, 48, of Cooranbong, was committed for trial yesterday on six counts of dangerous driving occasioning death.

He did not enter pleas.

Mr Field was reluctant to get in the car on the night of December 4 because he had been in a car that Mr Fenech drove a few weeks earlier when Mr Fenech allegedly made the car wheels spin before he lost control and crashed into bush, court documents tendered to Newcastle Local Court stated.

Mr Field worked for Mr Fenech while Luke and Ben Ramsay had spent the day helping Mr Fenech get a truck ready for registration, a police statement said.

Mr Fenech got the Holden Crewman out of a shed, revved the engine and said, "Come on guys, let's go for a spin", the statement said.

He allegedly sped off and spun the wheels on the dirt as they left, a witness said.

They drove to a bottle shop at Morisset and bought a carton of beer before the car left Freemans Drive on a sweeping left-hand bend during the return journey at about 10.20pm.

The car crossed to the wrong side of the road and travelled on or near the edge of the road for 96 metres before it crashed through a fence and hit two trees, the statement said.

Mr Fenech was taken to hospital with head injuries, but discharged himself the next day, a statement said.

He allegedly gave a blood-alcohol reading of 0.096 while an expert provided a statement that estimated Mr Fenech's blood-alcohol reading at the time of the crash between 0.116 and 0.146.

Mr Fenech will face Newcastle District Court later this month when a trial date will be set.

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