Truck driver David James Price faces trial over crash death of Daniel Milne at Beresfield

The crash site.
The crash site.

A TRUCK driver accused of causing the death of Ellalong man Daniel Milne in a four-vehicle crash at Beresfield in 2016 failed to notice a long queue of traffic formed in front of him until it was too late, Newcastle District Court has heard.

David James Price, 56, of Butterwick, was driving a Mitsubishi Fuso truck south along the New England Highway about 8.45am on May 10, 2016, when he crashed into the back of Mr Milne’s Toyota HiLux, which was at the end of a line of cars banked up approaching the intersection with John Renshaw Drive. 

“Notwithstanding the straight section of road, the close to perfect visibility and the elevated driving position, the accused failed to notice the queue of traffic until he was about 10 metres away from it,” Crown prosecutor Brian Costello said during his opening address. 

“At that time he was still travelling at 90km/h.

“When he did [see the queue of traffic] he braked harshly and his vehicle’s wheels locked up.”

Mr Costello said Mr Price began braking “far too late” and was unable to stop in time, his truck sliding into Mr Milne’s HiLux.

The impact forced the 30-year-old’s HiLux into a Holden Captiva, which struck a Toyota Rav4.

The truck “overrode” the HiLux and the cab of the utility was crushed, killing Mr Milne.  

“The Crown case is that the only logical, reasonable explanation for why Mr Price collided with Mr Milne’s car is inattention,” Mr Costello said. “He failed to keep a proper look out for a considerable period of time.”

Mr Costello said in the immediate aftermath of the crash Mr Price was heard to say words to the effect of “two seconds, that’s all it takes” and “I took my eyes off the road”. 

Mr Price has pleaded not guilty to dangerous driving occasioning death and his barrister, Benjamin Bickford, said the “critical issue” in the trial would be whether Mr Price was driving his vehicle dangerously at the time of the crash. 

“Mr Price’s case is that he wasn’t driving dangerously on this morning,” Mr Bickford said during his opening address.

“And that his involvement in this collision was a most unfortunate but unavoidable accident and it wasn’t brought about in any way by him driving his vehicle in a manner dangerous to other people.” The trial continues.